– In a set of prepared notes released before her speech on Friday afternoon at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Conference, Janet Yellen reiterated that an increase to the Federal Funds Rate “may be warranted later this year.” In striking a hawkish tone, the chair of the Federal Reserve said she does not need to see an increase in core inflation before the Fed decides to raise rates. The Fed, she added, could begin to raise rates before inflation reaches its target goal of 2%. At the same time, there were dovish elements to Yellen’s prepared speech. She emphasized that a return to normal interest rates will be “gradual,” citing premature rate hikes in Japan and Sweden. As a result, Yellen said the Fed will proceed “cautiously” to avoid “tightening too quickly.” There was little movement on the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the short period between the release of the notes and the close of U.S. equities markets. The Dow closed at 17,715, up 36.77 points on the day. In the minutes before Yellen’s speech, the Dow was roughly five points higher at 17,720. The U.S. Dollar Index inched up to 97.63, up from 97.52 minutes before Yellen’s speech.