Aug. 19 (UPI) — U.S. markets fell off of their session highs after the Federal Reserve said the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to “weigh heavily” on the economy.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 85.19 points, or 0.31%, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.57% and the S&P 500 ended the day down 0.44% after surpassing the record high it set on Tuesday.
Wednesday’s declines came after the Federal Reserve released minutes from its July meeting painting a negative outlook of the ongoing economic impacts of the pandemic.
“Members agreed that the ongoing public health crisis would weigh heavily on economic activity, employment and inflation in the near term and was posing considerable risks to the economic outlook over the medium term,” the Fed said.
The Fed left interest rates unchanged last month at between 0% and 0.25%, saying the economy was still “well below” pre-pandemic levels.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the strength of the economy moving forward was “extraordinarily uncertain” and would depend on efforts to contain the spread of the virus.
The major U.S. averages rose earlier in the day as Apple became the first U.S. company in history to reach a market cap of $2 trillion.
Also Wednesday, Target stock soared 12.65% after the company reported that earnings per share increased 84% year-to-year and profits climbed more than 80% to $1.7 billion for the May-July period, while in-store sales increased 11% and online sales leaped 195% for the quarter.