The US markets closed mostly lower on Monday, as investors were reluctant to make big bets without major economic or corporate news. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said that the Federal Reserve is on track to raise interest rates twice more this year after a policy tightening last week and it could be more or less aggressive depending on inflation and fiscal policies from the Trump administration. The public comments from Evans were among the first since the US central bank lifted its policy rate a notch last week, as expected. It also forecast roughly two more moves in 2017 in a nod to low unemployment and some inflation pressures. Evans, who is a voter on the Fed’s policy-setting committee this year and supported last week’s move, also echoed a comment from Fed Chair Janet Yellen that suggested the central bank could try to push inflation, now at 1.7 percent, above a 2-percent target. Evans added that while that level of growth could be reached in any given year, he said it was hard to imagine given the economy is already doing well, the labor market is very strong, and sectors like automobile sales are at all-time highs. There is room to get inflation up to 2 percent and in fact going beyond 2 percent a little bit to make sure we get there, and that it’s a symmetric inflation objective.
On the economy front, the Chicago Fed national activity index rose more-than-expected last month. Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago said that Chicago Fed National Activity Index rose to a seasonally adjusted 0.34, from -0.02 in the preceding month whose figure was revised up from -0.05.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 8.76 points or 0.04 percent to 20,905.86, S&P 500 dropped 4.78 points or 0.20 percent to 2,373.47, while the Nasdaq was up 0.53 points or 0.01 percent to 5,901.53.