“In a day of conflicting messages from the Federal Reserve that roiled financial markets, Chairman Ben Bernanke left some straightforward new clues about the central bank’s plans for its $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program.
“The Fed could take a first step toward reducing the program at one of its “next few meetings,” Mr. Bernanke said, but he cautioned that he was reluctant to move prematurely or aggressively.
“The comments, given at a congressional hearing Wednesday, gave markets a dose of clarity for a few hours, though a subsequent release of minutes from the Fed’s April 30-May 1 Fed policy meeting added to investor anxiety about the Fed’s plans. The minutes disclosed that some officials were prepared to start pulling back the program as early as the Fed’s next meeting in June, though the group as a whole, too, expressed hesitance.
“Wednesday’s flurry of new information jostled markets, which moved up when Mr. Bernanke’s congressional testimony was released in the morning, then pared triple-digit gains when he began taking questions and turned negative when the minutes were released in the afternoon. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the day down 80.41 points, or 0.52%, to 15307.17, moving 276.44 points from peak to trough.”
Read full Wall Street Journal article here