Stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) shuddered slightly when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the "R" word in Congressional testimony this morning.

Bernanke said the economy could weaken in the first half of this year, meaning the United States is finally in a recession, reports Joe Bel Bruno for the Associated Press. And furthermore, this time he offered no predictions of further interest rate cuts.

Some profit-taking is to be expected after yesterday’s stellar start to the second quarter, but it remains to be seen what impact beyond that Bernanke’s testimony will have. Yesterday, the markets were able to shrug off bad news in the financial sector. Can they shrug off hints of a nearing recession?

The big day has some wondering if we’ve reached a bottom for the markets and the credit crisis. Of course, this isn’t the first big day for the markets. The first quarter saw several days of triple-digit gains.

Jordan Kahn for Seeking Alpha suggests that it’s a good sign that despite negative headlines, the markets simply shrugged and continued on. It’s true – it seems that most other days, bad news was only followed by plunging stocks.

TrimTabs CEO Charles Biderman for Forbes says indicators are hinting that the funk could be hitting its end. Wages of U.S. workers rose 4.4% year-over-year in the past five weeks, and the economy added about 100,000 jobs in March, based on withholdings.

As has been the case with the markets lately, only a wait-and-see approach will work. If the volatility has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is a sure thing.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.