December 19, 2018 / 8:42 PM / 9 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St turns negative after Fed press conference

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* Stocks give up gains after Fed chair’s news conference

* Concerns of tightening financial conditions weigh on markets

* Indexes down: Dow 1.6 pct, S&P 1.6 pct, Nasdaq 2.3 pct (Updates to trade after Powell news conference, adds commentary)

By April Joyner

NEW YORK, Dec 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve’s forecast of fewer interest-rate increases in 2019 fell short of investors’ hopes of a more dovish monetary policy.

The Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement following a two-day policy meeting that risks to the economy were “roughly balanced,” but it would “continue to monitor global economic and financial developments and assess their implications for the economic outlook.”

Investors said Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s remarks in a news conference following the committee’s statement that he did not see the central bank changing its policy of keeping its balance sheet run-off on “autopilot” raised concerns of tightening financial conditions placing further strain on financial markets.

“Powell is steadfast in his commentary today that he doesn’t see any tightening that stems from the unwinding of the balance sheet,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey. “The market message is we are seeing tighter financial conditions and a weaker path for growth.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 439.99 points, or 1.86 percent, to 23,235.65, the S&P 500 lost 30.67 points, or 1.20 percent, to 2,515.49 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 128.48 points, or 1.89 percent, to 6,655.43.

Reporting by April Joyner; Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak in New York and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Leslie Adler

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