U.S. stocks ended modestly higher Thursday in choppy trade as worries about potential weakness in the banking system resurfaced a day after the Federal Reserve increased hikes by 25 basis points. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA rose about 73 points, or 0.2%, ending near 32,103, down about 400 points from the session’s high. The S&P 500 index SPX gained 0.3% and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP closed up 1%, according to preliminary figures from FactSet. Stocks closed off the session’s highs, but gained ground after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told a Senate committee that the federal government would take extra steps to stabilize the U.S. banking system, if necessary. Stocks closed sharply lower Wednesday after the Fed raised its policy rate to a range of 4.75% to 5%, up a year ago from close to zero. But some analysts said a catalyst of the selloff was comments from Yellen indicating she wasn’t yet considering ways to guarantee all bank deposits, despite regulators providing an exception to depositors in Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, which failed earlier this month. Sheila Bair, who ran the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. from 2006 to 2011, told MarketWatch on Thursday that the focus should be on underwater securities at all banks, not only regional lenders.
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