US STOCKS-Interest rate optimism pushes Wall Street higher

miércoles 30 de marzo de 2016 15:03 GYT

* Insurers up after MetLife deemed not "too big to fail"

* Crude prices pare most of their gains

* Indexes up: Dow 0.42 pct, S&P 0.44 pct, Nasdaq 0.49 pct (Updates with afternoon trading)

By Noel Randewich

March 30 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks pushed further into positive territory for 2016 on Wednesday, helped for a second session by comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that eased anxiety about potential interest rate hikes.

MetLife and other financial stocks led the market higher while the S&P energy sector was down marginally after crude prices retreated from their day's highs after a report showed a weekly build in U.S. crude inventories.

Yellen said on Tuesday the U.S. central bank should proceed cautiously as it looks to raise interest rates. On Wednesday, her comments were echoed by Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, who said there was a high hurdle to raising rates in April, given low inflation.

Those comments soothed investors worried about a slow global economy, a strong dollar, volatile oil prices and lackluster top-line growth at U.S. companies.

"The market's best friend continues to be the Fed and central banks around the world," said Jeff Carbone, co-founder of Cornerstone Financial Partners in Charlotte, North Carolina. "Investor appetite for risk has increased."   Continuación...