President Barack Obama nominated Janet Yellen to be the next chair of the Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday and said she is a proven leader who knows how to build consensus in managing the Fed's dual mandate of controlling inflation and increasing employment.
At a White House event, Obama also paid tribute to current chair Ben Bernanke, whose term on the board ends in January. Obama urged the Senate to confirm Yellen as soon as possible.
Obama called Bernanke a voice of wisdom during a time of market volatility who helped repair the U.S. economy from the worst recession since the Great Depression.
U.S. stocks climbed Wednesday to recover some of the day's earlier losses, and the year's high-performing technology stocks fell, as investors anticipated Yellen's nomination as U.S. central bank chairman and as a political standoff continued in Washington.
The stalemate in Washington and expectations of Yellen's nomination as Federal Reserve chief made for a volatile market on Wednesday, leading investors to lock in profit on the year's major gainers, many of them technology shares. Facebook was the biggest drag on the Nasdaq100 .NDX, down 2.6 percent to $45.92. The Nasdaq 100 index has had its biggest three-day drop this week since June 2012.
The broader market was in somewhat better shape, with defensive sectors such as telecommunications and utilities rising on the day.
"With the uncertainty over the government shutdown and the shaving away of the GDP each day, unfortunately, some investors will start selling these things that were good for the year rather than pulling off the laggards. And tech has been performing very highly," said Michael Matousek, head trader at U.S. Global Investors in San Antonio, Texas.