Thursday, March 1, 2012

U S Stocks Finish Leap Day Lower on Bernanke Comments

 The major U.S. stock indices finished the last day of the month in the red Wednesday after a more hawkish testimony from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke sapped earlier market momentum.
Equities pulled back after Bernanke suggested that improvements in the U.S. economy may lessen the need for further monetary stimulus. In his semi-annual speech before Congress, the Bernanke characterized the pace of economic growth as "uneven and modest by historical standards." However, he acknowledged some improvement in the labor market and said that headwinds like Europe and a weak housing market would fade beyond 2012.
"Bernanke said that the Fed is maintaining its very accommodative monetary policy because it views the unemployment rate as too high, the near-term inflation outlook as too low, and is concerned about downside risks to growth," said economists at PNC. "However, given the recent run of good news, the Federal Open Market Committee will not undertake a third round of quantitative easing when it meets in mid-March. Additional quantitative easing is likely this spring only if economic conditions deteriorate over the next few months, which we do not expect to occur."

Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI)

 -DJI
12,952.07 Down 53.05(0.41%) 

Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI)

 -DJI
Prev Close:13,005.12
Open:13,005.42
Day's Range:12,929.66 - 13,055.75
52wk Range:10,362.30 - 13,087.20