BERNANKE: Bernanke said that some of the problems plaguing the economy such as weakness in the financial industry and the housing market "may be stronger and more persistent than we thought."
STREAK SNAPPED: Major indexes had been mixed for much of the day but turned lower in mid-afternoon trading as Bernanke spoke at a news conference. The drop followed four days of gains.
THE INDEXES: 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 0.7 percent, to close at 1,287.14. The Nasdaq fell 18.07 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,669.19.