Stocks fell on Wednesday morning as investors weighed comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on the state of the economy. Powell said he anticipates "significant downside risks" in the future and that the path ahead is "highly uncertain." He made these remarks in a webcast event with the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Powell said the U.S. is in "an extended period of low productivity growth and stagnant incomes," adding "additional fiscal support could be costly but worth if it helps avoid long term economic damage."
Powell's comments follow news Tuesday that the Democrats have released details for further funding intended to assist states and local governments financially amid the ongoing economic shutdown. The bill is expected to head for a House vote Friday.
On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 250 points. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both traded lower.
Tuesday saw stocks fall as remarks from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the immunologist who directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spooked investors. Fauci warned that reopening the U.S. economy too quickly could lead to "suffering and death" and set back a recovery.
On Wednesday, investors are also watching Tesla (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report, Cisco (CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems Inc. Report, and Twitter (TWTR) - Get Twitter Inc. Report closely. Tesla, after a prolonged standoff with Alameda County in California, will be allowed to reopen its Fremont plant next week. Twitter is allowing employees to work from home indefinitely, even after the coronavirus pandemic ends.