Stocks ended the day lower, dropping after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke failed to meet hopes that the central bank will be stepping in soon with an aggressive stimulus program.
The major averages took on mild declines in a day of tight-range trading, initially slipping after a Fed policy announcement, regaining ground on hopes that the central bank was laying the groundwork for more monetary easing, then fizzling after the Bernanke news conference .
Instead of announcing a third round of quantitative easing, the Fed said it would continue with its current program of buying and selling bonds in an effort to boost risk assets and drive down interest rates.
"The market is now pricing in roughly a 70 percent chance of QE3," Michael S. Hanson, U.S. economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "We think they are right, just not for this week."
All 10 sectors of the Standard & Poor's 500 turned negative after the Bernanke speech, while losers beat gainers 2 to 1 on the Dow industrials. It was another lazy, light day on Wall Street, with composite volume of only about 3.5 billion shares.Page 1 of 5 | Next Page