Bernanke disappointment pushes Wall Street lower

Stocks closed sharply lower on Thursday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave no indications of new stimulus measures to boost the flagging economy in a keenly awaited speech. Investors have been looking to Bernanke, who gave his outlook on the U.S. economy on Thursday, and other policymakers to address a host of concerns from slowing global growth to Europe’s debt crisis. A rise in jobless claims reported earlier in the day underscored the weakness in the U.S. economy and came ahead of a speech by President Barack Obama. Obama is due to speak at 7 p.m. and is expected lay out a plan for creating jobs. “The Fed hasn’t come out with more options or tools that the market wants or was expecting,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management in Bedford Hills, New York. “The market was disappointed because this wasn’t a game changer.” Banks were the biggest decliners after sharp gains on Wednesday. They have been one of the most turbulent sectors in the volatility that has engulfed equity markets this summer. The KBW Bank Index <.BKX> fell nearly 3 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 119.05 points, or 1.04 percent, to 11,295.81. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index <.SPX> fell 12.72 points, or 1.06 percent, to 1,185.90. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> lost 19.80 points, or 0.78 percent, to 2,529.14.