Investing.com - Shares in Sydney held largely steady to slightly higher on Thursday with markets in China and Japan shut for holidays.
The S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.04%.
In Australia, MI annual trimmed mean inflation views for February held steady at 3.6% from January.
U.S. stocks were mixed in Wednesday's session, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 Composite index closed lower following a late sell-off in the final minutes.
The major indices appeared to be headed for a relatively flat session after Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen soothed markets by providing few indications on the timing of the Fed's next interest rate move in guarded testimony before Capitol Hill.
While Yellen noted on Wednesday that widespread market volatility and a weak dollar continued to pose growth risks to the U.S. economy, she appeared confident that inflation will move back toward the Fed's targeted goal of 2%, while reiterating that the labor market is close to full employment.
Yellen's semi-annual testimony before the House Financial Services Committee could be interpreted as neither dovish, nor hawkish, providing further ambiguity on whether the Fed will raise short-term interest rates before the end of the summer.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 99.64 or 0.62% to 15,914.74, while the NASDAQ Composite index ticked up 14.83 or 0.35% to 4,283.59, halting a four-day losing streak. The Dow fell by more than 135 points in the final hour of trading. U.S. stocks have come under intense downside pressure in recent days from crashing oil prices , as well as a rout among banking stocks in Europe that has dragged down equity markets and government bond yields throughout the euro zone.
The S&P 500, meanwhile, inched down 0.35 or 0.02% to 1,851.86, as seven of 10 sectors closed in the red. Stocks in the Technology, Health Care and Consumer Services sectors led, while stocks in the Energy and Basic Materials industries lagged each falling by more than 0.5%.
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