Stocks Ended Down after Fed Comments

U.S. stocks ended with solid losses on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve lowered its economic forecast and Chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledged that the pace of the economic recovery is slower than expected, but offered no hint about plans for new stimulus measures. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the session down 80.34 points, or 0.66%, to 12,109.67. The S&P 500 slid 8.38 points, or 0.65%, to 1,287.14. The Nasdaq Composite lost 18.07 points, or 0.67%, to 2,669.19.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says some of the problems that are slowing the economy could persist into next year. Bernanke says at a news conference that the slowdown could be due, in part, to the troubled housing market and other factors that will continue to depress growth in 2012.

Oil prices rose Wednesday. Benchmark oil for August delivery gained $1.24 to settle at $95.41 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Europe kept up the pressure on Greece to push forward with a painful austerity program on Wednesday after the government jumped a crucial hurdle in averting the euro zone’s first debt default.

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