U.S. stocks fell following Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s statement that the Fed may slow the pace of its bond purchases later this year, Bloomberg News reported.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 200 points Wednesday following the Fed statement, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Crude oil, holding near a nine-month high, slipped 20 cents to finish trading Wednesday at $98.24 a barrel, according to Bloomberg figures.
The Fed is likely to taper its $85 billion in monthly bond buying later this year and halt such purchases around mid-2014 as long as the world’s largest economy performs in line with Fed projections, Bernanke told reporters in Washington on Wednesday, Bloomberg reported.
Federal Reserve officials, meanwhile, forecast the U.S. unemployment rate will fall to a range of 6.5% to 6.8% by the end of 2014, while 15 of 19 participants on the Federal Open Market Committee expect the first rise in the federal funds rate to occur in 2015 or later, Bloomberg reported.