Everything was going right for the stock market until Oct. 3. Then everything went wrong.
Up to that point, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had been up about 8 percent for the year — a solid gain if not quite as gaudy as the year before.
More importantly, the fundamental backdrop was solid: The economy was growing at a better than 3 percent clip, corporate profits were around their highest levels in eight years, and the Federal Reserve seemed in control of monetary policy and interest rates.
The market traded flat that day, with little indication that there was anything that should disrupt the powerful bull run into the end of the year.
Then, it happened.
In a seemingly off-the-cuff remark in a PBS interview after the market had closed, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said interest rates were "a long way" from what he considered neither stimulative nor restrictive — the central bank's holy grail of "neutral" where it could stay put over at least the medium term.