NEW YORK, March 6 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks dipped Monday as the possibility of a March rate hike increased after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 51.37 points, or 0.24 percent, to 20,954.34. The S&P 500 lost 7.81 points, or 0.33 percent, to 2,375.31. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 21.58 points, or 0.37 percent, to 5,849.17.
Yellen on Friday signaled that an interest rate hike in this month's monetary policy will likely be appropriate if the economy progresses in line with officials' expectation.
"At our meeting later this month, the (Federal Open Market) Committee will evaluate whether employment and inflation are continuing to evolve in line with our expectations, in which case a further adjustment of the federal funds rate would likely be appropriate," said Yellen in a speech at the Executives' Club of Chicago.
The Fed is scheduled to hold its next monetary policy meeting on March 14 and 15.
Market expectations for a March rate hike were around 86 percent, according to the CME Group's FedWatch tool.
On the economic front, U.S. new orders for manufactured goods in January, up six of the last seven months, increased 5.5 billion U.S. dollars or 1.2 percent to 470.2 billion dollars, the Commerce Department reported Monday.
Overseas, European equities also declined Monday. Germany's benchmark DAX index at Frankfurt Stock Exchange decreased 0.57 percent, while British benchmark FTSE 100 Index slid 0.33 percent.
In Asia, Chinese shares closed higher Monday, with the key Shanghai index going up 0.48 percent, after the country's leadership reassured investors on reform.