Stocks slid today for a second consecutive session following an ambiguous speech by Ben Bernanke and record-busting oil prices that topped $88. The Fed chairman offered a so-so assessment of the markets but no clues about rate cuts. The Dow fell 71.86 to 13,912.94, the S&P dropped 10.18 to 1,538.53, and the Nasdaq lost 16.14 to close at 2,763.91.
The question about oil prices is just how high they'll have to go before consumers get spooked and stop spending, reports the Journal. "Whether consumers could absorb $4-a-gallon gasoline, I don't know," says an economist. Wells Fargo and KeyCorp reported earnings significantly below expectations today, which contributed to the slide.