U.S. stocks slumped after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell announced that the central bank would not be cutting interest rates in March. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite plunged 2.2% lower while the S&P 500 fell by 1.6%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.8% lower.
Ahead of the Fed’s policy decision on Wednesday, markets had been anticipating signs from the central bank regarding the trajectory of its monetary policy going forward into March and beyond. “I don’t think it’s likely that the committee will reach a level of confidence” by the March meeting, Powell admitted during a press conference following the Fed’s two-day policy meeting.
Stocks had already experienced turbulence before Powell’s address following the release of quarterly earnings by several major tech players including Google parent company Alphabet Inc, which suffered a 7% slump in share value, as well as Microsoft and AMD.