NEW YORK, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks closed mixed Wednesday, as investors took a breather after major indices notched the first four-day winning streak this year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 30.83 points, or 0.19 percent, to 15,963.94. The S&P 500 edged down 0.49 point, or 0.03 percent, to 1,819.26. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 10.24 points, or 0.24 percent, to 4,201.29.
Wall Street opened slightly higher after U.S. House of Representatives approved Tuesday a bill with no provisions attached to extend the limit on the federal government's borrowing authority, lifting market sentiment to a certain extent.
However, the market posted a volatile trading session afterwards, as investors were reluctant to keep buying.
On the previous trading day, major stock indices jumped over 1 percent, as investors cheered Janet Yellen's remarks, getting clear policy stance from the new Federal Reserve chair in her first testimony in Congress as the Fed head.
She said the U.S. central bank will likely keep the plan of cutting stimulus given the improving economy.
Moreover, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said Wednesday in New York that Fed's monetary policy making will probably have to return to a more traditional one as unemployment rate fell to 6. 6 percent in January, slightly higher than the guidance of 6.5 percent.
On the economic front, U.S. mortgage applications dropped 2.0 percent for the week ending Feb. 7 from a week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
In corporate news, shares of the Procter & Gamble Company dropped 1.71 percent to 77.49 U.S. dollars one day after the household products maker lowered its earnings outlook for fiscal year 2014, citing foreign exchange volatilities.
Shortly after the closing bell, Cisco Systems released its quarterly earnings and revenues, both beating market expectations. However, the Dow component's shares slipped in after-hours trading.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered as a fear gauge of the market, dropped 1.45 percent to 14.30.
In other markets, oil prices moved up Wednesday as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries predicted stronger global crude demand amid an improving outlook for the world economy.
Light, sweet crude for March delivery moved up 43 cents to settle at 100.37 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for March delivery gained 11 cents to close at 108.79 dollars a barrel.
Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange continued to increase Wednesday, with the most active gold contract for April delivery up 5.2 dollars to settle at 1,295 dollars per ounce.
The U.S. dollar continued to trade mixed against major currencies Wednesday as Yellen's speech provided no explicit direction for the U.S. currency.
In late New York trading, the euro fell to 1.3594 dollars from 1.3638 dollars of the previous session, and the British pound went up to 1.6598 dollars from 1.6449 dollars.