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Wall St dips on Fed rate comments

Thursday, June 26 15:45:34

U.S. stocks fell today following comments from a top Federal Reserve official that interest rate increases should come sooner rather than later.

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said the U.S. jobless rate will fall below 6 percent and inflation looks likely to rise back to 2 percent later this year, putting the economy closer to normal than most realise. Bullard is non-voting member of the FOMC.

"You are basically going to be near normal on both dimensions basically later this year," Bullard said in an interview with Fox Business Network. "That's shocking, and I don't think markets, and I'm not sure policymakers, have really digested that that's where we are."

Bullard reiterated his belief that raising rates by the end of the first quarter of 2015 will be appropriate.

Financial stocks were among the day's top decliners after New York State's attorney general filed a securities fraud lawsuit against Barclays, accusing the British bank of giving an unfair edge in the United States to high-frequency trading clients.

U.S.-listed shares of Barclays fell 7.3 percent to $14.57. Other European banks were also hit, with U.S.-listed shares of UBS AG down 2.5 percent to $18.45 and Credit Suisse off 4.1 percent at $28.14.

Alcoa Inc shares rose 3.1 percent to $15.01. The company agreed to buy aircraft parts maker Firth Rixson from private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners for $2.85 billion in cash and stock.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 85.28 points or 0.51 percent, to 16,782.23, the S and P 500 lost 9.52 points or 0.49 percent, to 1,950.01 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 19.10 points or 0.44 percent, to 4,360.66.