NEW YORK, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks declined on Thursday, as Wall Street digested the latest comments from Federal Reserve officials and assessed the central bank's policy path.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 7.51 points, or 0.02 percent, to 33,546.32. The S&P 500 lost 12.23 points, or 0.31 percent, to 3,946.56. The Nasdaq Composite Index decreased 38.70 points, or 0.35 percent, to 11,144.96.
Eight of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended in red, with utilities and consumer discretionary down 1.79 percent and 1.27 percent, respectively, leading the laggards. Technology rose 0.21 percent, the best-performing group.
The above market reactions came as investors fretted over the prospect of higher interest rates.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said Thursday that the central bank still has a lot of work to do given that its tightening so far "had only limited effects on observed inflation."
He said the Fed's policy rate will need to be increased further to a level high enough to bring inflation down.
Bullard was among the latest central bankers to call for additional action.
Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said Thursday it's unclear how far the central bank has to go with rates to bring demand back into balance.
On Wednesday, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly said that somewhere between 4.75 percent and 5.25 percent seems a reasonable place to think about for the level to which officials should raise rates.
Earlier this month, the Fed raised interest rates by 75 basis points for the fourth consecutive meeting, setting the federal funds target range between 3.75 percent and 4 percent.
On the economic front, U.S. initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, decreased by 4,000 to 222,000 in the week ending Nov. 12, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast new claims to total 225,000. ■