Stocks faded to a weak close Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the drags on the U.S. economy may be worse than previously thought.
Major indexes had been mixed for much of the day but turned lower in mid-afternoon trading as Bernanke spoke at a news conference. Responding to a reporter's question, Bernanke said that some of the problems plaguing the economy such as weakness in the financial industry and the housing market and "may be stronger and more persistent than we thought."
The Dow closed down 80.34 points, or 0.7 percent, at 12,109.67.
The S&P 500 index fell 8.38 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,287.14.
The Nasdaq fell 18.07 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,669.19.
For the week:
The Dow is up 105.31, or 0.9 percent.
The S&P is up 15.64, or 1.2 percent.
The Nasdaq is up 52.71, or 2 percent.
For the year to date:
The Dow is up 532.16, or 4.6 percent.
The S&P is up 29.50, or 2.3 percent.
The Nasdaq is up 16.32, or 0.6 percent.