Stocks open lower

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US stocks opened lower for trading on Tuesday.

Near 10:05 a.m. ET, the Dow was down 36 points, the S&P 500 was down 3 points, and the Nasdaq was off 2 — all by less than 0.3%.

The Dow fell nearly 100 points in the first half hour of trading, and rebounded after a reading of consumer confidence beat expectations. 

Stocks finished little changed on Monday.

The highlight today is Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s speech on monetary policy and the economy. It will be the first time we hear from her since the press conference after the policy meeting two weeks ago.

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At least four other regional Fed presidents have spoken since the meeting, and have somewhat endorsed the FOMC’s plan to raise rates twice this year.  

“After the Yellen speech we expect the market to remain very reluctant to price in an April hike,” Deutsche Bank’s Alan Ruskin wrote in a client note. “The initial reaction will be restrained in part because participants will wish to avoid getting whipsawed by key data at the end of the week [like the job’s report].”

Economic data out today include S&P/Case-Shiller’s home price index for January, which showed that prices in 210 major cities rose more than expected. 

Consumer confidence rose more than expected this month, as the Conference Board’s index rose to 96.2 in March from an upwardly revised print of 94.

The American Petroleum Institute’s crude oil inventory numbers will cross after the closing bell. West Texas Intermediate crude futures in New York fell further below $40 per barrel, down 2% to as low as $38.53 in early trading. 

Lennar reported first-quarter earnings before the market open, beating analysts’ expectations for earnings. Rising home prices, in part due to low inventories, boosted its revenues from homebuilding.

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