In a second day of testimony Thursday, Bernanke told lawmakers that the Fed expected the economy to improve. He said the central bank had no immediate plans to step in with more economic stimulus. Stocks turned immediately lower after he made the remarks and fell for much of the day.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index is down 9 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 1,309. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 54, or 0.4 percent, to 12,437. The Nasdaq composite fell 34, or 1.2 percent, to 2,763.
About four stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was light at 3.8 billion.