US STOCKS-Wall St drops after Yellen moves up possible rate hike

miércoles 19 de marzo de 2014 16:43 GYT

* S&P 500 snaps 2-day winning streak

* Fed statement largely as expected

* First Solar jumps after outlook

* Dow off 0.7 pct; S&P 500 down 0.6 pct; Nasdaq off 0.6 pct (Updates to close)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, March 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday after comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen raised the possibility of an earlier- than-anticipated increase in interest rates.

The central bank dropped the U.S. unemployment rate as its definitive yardstick for gauging the economy's strength and made clear it would rely on a wide range of measures in deciding when to raise interest rates.

Equities extended declines after Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the "considerable period" between the end of its quantitative easing program, known as QE, and the first rate increase from the central bank could be six months.

With QE forecast to wind down sometime near the end of the year, a six-month lag would move up the timetable for the Fed's first hike, which many market participants had been expecting in the second half of 2015.   Continuación...