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MarketWatch MarketPulseJan 27, 2021
Dow skids over 600 points lower near Wednesday's nadir as Fed's Powell says COVID 'adds to economic uncertainty'
U.S. stocks saw losses gather steam Monday afternoon as the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell offered a sobering outlook for the U.S.'s battle against COVID-19, which continues to hobble the economy if not the stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading down by about 600 points Wednesday afternoon at 30,347, which would represent its sharpest daily skid since around October. The S&P 500 index was drifting 2.5% lower to 3,754, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 2.4% at 13,300. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has emphasized repeatedly that it is premature for the U.S. central bank to contemplate exiting its accommodative monetary policy stance. The Fed has cut its policy interest rate close to zero and is buying $120 billion per month of U.S. Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities to help the economy recover from the pandemic. During a news conference at 2:30 p.m. Eastern, Powell said new strains of coronavirus "add to economic uncertainty." However, he emphasized that the U.S. economic recovery has been strong from its lows and said financial stability vulnerabilities are 'moderate' right now.

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