New York Report: Bernanke pulls Wall St lower with dim view

US STOCKS fell yesterday, with the S&P 500 snapping a four-day streak of gains after the Federal Reserve said it had a weaker growth outlook for the economy, even as it held steady with its stimulus programme for the time being.

Trading was volatile following the release of the statement, with the major US stock indexes dropping to session lows.

Almost 70 per cent of stocks on both the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq declined, while all 10 S&P sector indexes fell.

While it had been widely expected that the US central bank would not announce any adjustments to its bond-buying scheme, the statement wasn’t enough to extend a rally that has driven both the Dow and the S&P 500 to repeated record highs.

The Dow Jones slipped 61.59 points, or 0.39 per cent, to end at 15,618.76. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 8.64 points, or 0.49 per cent, to finish at 1,763.31. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 21.72 points, or 0.55 per cent, to close at 3,930.62.

Many analysts expect the Fed to delay until at least March in easing the stimulus measures that have encouraged investors to buy riskier assets, like stocks, contributing to the S&P 500’s gain of more than 20 per cent this year.

In the latest batch of earnings, General Motors rose 3.2 per cent to $37.23 after the car firm reported stronger-than-expected profit.

On the downside, Yelp dropped 2.6 per cent a day after it reported a wider third-quarter loss, while Western Union shares slid 12.4 per cent after a steep drop in earnings.