Midday Report: May 24, 2013 Friday, May 24, 1:07 PM ET
Stocks still reeling over confusing comments from the Fed this week that its stimulus policies may be winding down soon. It's no surprise that its current $85-billion-per-month bond buying program will come to an end, but stocks have become so sensitive to any words from Fed Chairman Bernanke that would hint at when that might happen.
Here's where the confusion was - on Wednesday, Bernanke told Congress that curtailment of its policies could happen at one of its next few meetings. However, minutes from the most recent policy meeting - also released on Wednesday - said some committee members may want to start cutting as early as June. And yet in Bernanke's prepared testimony Wednesday, he said he was reluctant to move at all. The conflicting messages have sent stocks lower ever since.
Today's weakness ignores some positive economic announcements. This morning, durable goods orders for April came in better than expected. And a positive report on investor sentiment in Germany also failed to temper the sell off.
Right now, the Dow is down about a quarter of a percent and the Nasdaq and S&P 500 are off about a third of one percent.
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