- Stocks eased off session lows but still closed sharply lower after Janet Yellen raised jitters about the prospect of interest rates rising sooner than some market participants had been expecting.
- Traders say losses were driven mostly by fast-trading short-term investors, who seized on Yellen's remark that the Fed could hike rates "around six months" after it fully winds down its tapering program; trading volume was relatively low after the announcement and focused in derivatives and exchange-traded products rather than individual stocks.
- The bond market said it's time to prepare for higher short-term rates as Treasurys weakened, pushing the yield on the benchmark 10-year note as high as 2.79%.
- In equities, the spike in yields weighed on the rate-sensitive utilities sector, while energy, industrials and materials also suffered a bout of selling.
- The dollar shot up against the yen and strengthened vs. the euro; gold's losses deepened after the statement, with futures recently down 1.9% at $1,330.