4:25 pm : Equities ended on their lows with the S&P 500 down 1.4%.
The S&P entered today's session with a week-to-date gain of 1.5% as investors expected reassuring words from today's Federal Open Market Committee Statement.
Stocks traded with slim losses until this afternoon's FOMC Statement and subsequent comments from Chairman Bernanke sent equities and Treasuries to their lows while also providing a significant boost to the dollar.
Today's Statement was not too different from the last directive released on May 1. However, it did indicate inflation has been running below the longer-run objective while long-term inflation expectations remain stable.
During his remarks, Chairman Bernanke said if conditions continue to improve, the Fed could reduce the pace of purchases later this year with a potential end to purchases coming in the middle of 2014. He also suggested downside risks have diminished since the fall, but the Fed will not sell securities as long as the market remains in normalization stage.
Finally, Mr. Bernanke said that a decline in the unemployment rate to 6.5% will not automatically signal a rate hike. Instead, reaching the target will pave way for that discussion to begin.
The Dollar Index saw the sharpest post-FOMC move as investors dumped other currencies in favor of the greenback. The afternoon bid sent the Index higher by 0.9% and allowed it to regain its 200-day moving average.
Elsewhere, Treasuries fell victim to aggressive selling pressure as a loss of more than one point ran the 10-yr yield up 14 basis points to 2.332%. This marked the highest close since March 2012. Even more notable was today's 17.5 basis point surge in the 5-yr yield, which made for