"Armenpress" reports the value of Dow Jones down by 1.68% to 24608.98 points, S&P 500 down by 1.33% to 2677.67 points, Nasdaq down by 1.27% to 7180.56 points. U.S. Treasury yields climbed and stocks fell amid fresh speculation that the Fed would accelerate the pace of hikes in its benchmark policy rate this year.
As Bespoke Investment Group noted on Wednesday, 15 of the 19 trading days during the month saw triple-digit moves for the Dow with two days witnessing unprecedented quadruple-digit moves.
The S&P 500 sectors were entirely negative.
Powell's remarks before the committee were interpreted by some as indicating that the Fed may raise rates more than the three times now anticipated.
Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, gained 0.2 percent in January, while core PCE price index, the Federal Reserve's favored gauge on inflation, rose 0.2 percent compared with economists' expectation of a 0.3 percent rise.
That drove shares in USA steel producers as much as 12 percent higher but knocked 2 percent or more off heavyweights like Boeing and Caterpillar, who investors anxious would face higher raw material costs and trade barriers elsewhere.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 indices snapped a 10-month winning streak in February, while the Nasdaq Composite index posted a monthly loss for the first time in eight months. "The prospect of faster rate hikes in the near-term has been damaging for stock markets recently and explains why once again US indices shed more than 1 percent on Tuesday".
The stock posting the largest daily percentage gain in the S&P 500 ahead of the close Wednesday was Advance Auto Parts, Inc.
Transportation, natural gas, and housing stocks also saw considerable weakness, moving lower along with most of the other major sectors. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 1.6 per cent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.6 per cent. Gap shares rose 6 percent. The FTSE 100 fared slightly better but declined just over 1 percent.
In the commodities markets, benchmark US crude rose 26 cents to settle at $61.25 per barrel. Brent crude, the global standard, lost 94 cents, or 1.5 per cent, to $63.79 a barrel. Gold usually rises when investors are feeling more nervous about inflation and the economy.
Natural gas was virtually flat at $2.70 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil slipped a cent to $1.88 per gallon and wholesale gasoline gained a penny to $1.90 per gallon.
CURRENCIES: The euro was steady at $1.2222 while the dollar fell 0.2 percent to 107.10 yen.