What happened

Shares of Conduent (NASDAQ:CNDT) plunged by as much as 12.3% today, on news that the U.S. economy may not be able to rebound as quickly as some investors were hoping. 

The company's share price was down 8.48% as of 3:49 P.M. EST.

A red line graph going down.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Conduent investors were probably scared off by comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in a speech today. Powell said the outlook for the U.S. economy is "highly uncertain and subject to significant downside risks."

He added that additional financial support could be needed to "avoid long-term economic damage" and to spur on a strong economic recovery. 

Powell's comments did little to comfort investors, as the S&P 500 fell more than 2% following his speech. The broader market's slide sent stocks from all sectors tumbling, and Conduent's shares fell along with it. 

Now what 

Investors were already growing pessimistic about the company's stock before Powell's comments. In the wake of the current pandemic, Conduent's share price has fallen 64% over the past three months.

With wild share price swings like these, it's clear that many investors are having big emotional reactions to daily news about current pandemic. And when that happens, stock prices will be all over the map. All of which means that Conduent's investors may continue to experience large share price swings in the near term.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.