U.S. stock markets Friday afternoon were trading sharply lower but of their ugliest levels after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell delivered an unexpected statement to help assuage worries about the central bank's response to a viral outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China last year. Powell said that the Fed will "act appropriately," and noted that COVID-19, the deadly infectious disease, poses an "evolving" risk. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.04% was down 625 points, or 2.1%, at 25,159, the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.24% declined 1.8% at 2,923, while the Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.43% was trading 1.2% lower at 8,468. All three benchmarks had been trading with more severe losses earlier Friday, including the Nasdaq, which had been down 3.5%. All three benchmarks simultaneously fell into correction territory on Thursday, defined as a drop of 10% from a recent peak, but not more than 20%, and the equity gauges are on track for their worst weekly declines since the 2008 financial crisis. The 10-year Treasury note was at 1.13%, reflecting continued worries about the impact of the virus to global economies and supply chains. Bond prices rise as yields fall. Powell in his statement emphasized that the fundamentals of the U.S. economy remain strong.