The Nasdaq composite index crossed 3,000 for the first time in more than a decade but finished in the red following the testimony from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke which checked market expectations of more monetary easing.
The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 19.87 points, or 0.7%, to 2,966.89. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 53 points, or 0.4%, to close at 12,952. The S&P 500 shed 6.5 points, or 0.5%, at 1365.
Bernanke suggested that the present improvement in the U.S. economy will reduce the necessity for any more monetary stimulus.
The prices of gold and silver also fell following the suggestion from Bernanke that rising gas prices could, for the time being, increase inflation.
The critical aspect continues to be whether gasoline prices will increase or not. This in turn will depend on two factors - Middle Eastern relations and Greece's debt crisis. In recent times, hopefulness has oscillated over the Greek debt deal, causing crude oil prices to fluctuate. Also the U.S. and Europe are tightening economic sanctions against Iran, the second-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries after Saudi Arabia.
But so far the signs for this year are positive. The unemployment rate also fell to 8.3 percent in January. Also the U.S. government said that the economy grew at a pace of 3 percent in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, the economic conditions are not expected to deteriorate in the coming months which will in turn mean that further quantitative easing will be delayed as well.