Bernanke said Wednesday that the Fed's Open Market Committee could throttle back on an $85 billion per month asset purchasing program sooner than previously expected.
He didn't specify when that would occur. MarketWatch quoted Bernanke as saying, "In the next few meetings, we could take a step down in our pace of purchase."
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil gave up 96 cents to $93.17 per barrel.
Gasoline prices dropped 1.34 cents to $2.7981 a gallon. Home heating oil dropped 1.98 cents to $2.8485 a gallon. Natural gas shed 1.7 cents to reach $4.177 per million British thermal units.
At the pump, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $3.659 Thursday, down from Wednesday's $3.66, the AAA Fuel Gauge Report said.
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