NEW YORK, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks closed mixed in volatile trading Wednesday, as the fiscal standoff overshadowed market optimism stemmed from the nomination of Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen as the next Fed chief.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 26.45 points, or 0.18 percent, to 14,802.98 points. The S&P 500 edged up 0.95 point, or 0.06 percent, to 1,656.40 points. The Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 17.05 points, or 0.46 percent, to 3,677.78 points.
Widely considered as a policy "dove", Yellen is expected to continue the Fed's current massive monetary stimulus.
But the major indices seemed to react little after U.S. President Barack Obama nominated Yellen to succeed current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.
The fiscal impasse in Washington continued to hang over the market, eroding investor confidence. However, a possibility of a temporary increase in the debt ceiling to allow the two sides to negotiate broadly seemed to be floating in Congress.
Meanwhile, minutes from the Fed's latest policy meeting in September showed that there was fierce debate among top policymakers over whether the central bank should cut back its bond purchase programs soon.
Besides, the third-quarter earnings season unofficially kicked off after aluminum giant Alcoa reported positive results after Tuesday's closing bell. Alcoa swung to a third-quarter profit, pushing its shares to close 2.02 percent higher at 8.10 U.S. dollars.
Costco Wholesale Corporation and Yum! Brands, however, posted disappointing quarterly earnings reports.
On the economic front, U.S. mortgage applications rose 1.3 percent last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered as a fear gauge of the market, dropped 3.64 percent to end at 19.60.
The Dow has already broken late August lows, so as other indices joined suit, Mark Newton, chief technical analyst at Greywolf Execution Partners Inc., said Wednesday. He added that this will lead to a far greater weakness.
In other markets, oil prices declined on ample supplies as a government report showed U.S. crude supplies last week grew by the most in a year. Light, sweet crude for November delivery slipped 1. 88 dollars to settle at 101.61 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for November delivery lost 1.1 dollars to close at 109.06 dollars a barrel.
Gold future for December delivery on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 17.4 dollars to settle at 1,307. 2 dollars per ounce on a strong dollar.
The U.S. dollar advanced against most major currencies. In late New York trading, the euro slipped to 1.3520 dollars from 1.3566 dollars of the previous session, and the British pound decreased to 1.5956 dollars from 1.6081 dollars.