(PHILLY) — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke offered a sour assessment of the U.S. economy Tuesday and said the Federal Reserve is ready to take further action if growth doesn't pick up. But Bernanke provided no clues about what steps the Fed might take or whether any action was imminent.
Investors were hoping Bernanke would signal that the Fed planned to launch another round of bond purchases, to drive down long-term interest rates and encourage more borrowing and spending. Stock prices, which had been up moderately in early trading, moved lower almost immediately after it became clear from Bernanke's testimony before the Senate Banking Committee that the Fed wouldn't act quickly. But by midday, they had rebounded and were in positive territory at pre-testimony levels.