The three main U.S. equity benchmarks Thursday afternoon erased, or were close to erasing, their year-to-date gains as a rate-driven sell-off picked up momentum, following comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down nearly 700 points, or 2.2%, lower pushing the index to a decline of 0.1% for 2021, the S&P 500 index
was off 2.5% on the session, erasing its gains for the year and pushing the broad-market benchmark to a decline of 0.8% for 2021. The Nasdaq Composite Index
which was in the firing line of the decline by dint of the many technology and tech-related companies that make up the index, was teetering on the brink of the first correction, down 10% from a recent peak, since Sept. 9. At last check, the Nasdaq was down 11% from its recent low. The Nasdaq was off 3.3% on Thursday and down 2.5% for the year to date. Powell said the central bank’s current policy stance is appropriate and suggested that moves in inflation are transitory, disappointing investors who had hoped him to say more about how the Fed would react to tamp down a rise in long-term bond yields, speaking at a webinar hosted by the Wall Street Journal.