Stocks fell sharply Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank could slow its massive bond purchases this year and end them by mid-2014 if the economy improves enough. High-dividend stocks like telecommunications and utilities fell the most. Markets have been making big swings in recent weeks as traders try to anticipate when the Fed will ease back on the bond-buying program. The Dow Jones industrial average had its seventh straight move of 100 points or more.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 206.04 points, or 1.4 percent, to 15,112.19.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 22.88 points, or 1.4 percent, to 1,628.93.
The Nasdaq composite index fell 38.98 points, or 1.1 percent, to 3,443.20.
For the week:
The Dow is up 42.01 points, or 0.3 percent.
The S&P 500 is up 2.20 points, or 0.1 percent.
The Nasdaq composite is up 19.64 points, or 0.6 percent.
For the year:
The Dow is up 2,008.05 points, or 15.3 percent.
The S&P 500 is up 202.74 points, or 14.2 percent.
The Nasdaq composite is up 423.69 points, or 14 percent.