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NEW YORK (Detroit Free Press) -- No doubt, the stock market has been overflowing with champagne and caviar for much of 2013. So maybe, some might say, a little break is in order.

Today investors saw a flashback to the down days of cheese and crackers. After 3 p.m., the Dow was down about 313 points or 2.13% and trading at 14,798.25 points. It looks like the worst day for 2013 so far.

This week, the Federal Reserve's open market committee made no changes to interest rates or monetary policy. But the Fed gave a hint that the economy is looking stronger.

One key phrase in the Fed's statement: "Labor market conditions have shown further improvement in recent months."

Another key Fed phrase: "The downside risks to the outlook for the economy and the labor market have diminished since the fall."

Yes, better days. But some say that Wall Street is now worried about the Fed engaging in a quick, more restrictive monetary policy ahead.

A report by PNC economists stressed that the stock market's reaction was likely an overreaction. The report pointed out that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke provided more detail in a press conference when he compared the Fed's pace ahead regarding a tighter monetary policy to letting up on the gas pedal of a car, rather than hitting the brakes.

Any increase in the Federal funds rate is far into the future, Bernanke said.

Time to panic? Many experts say no.

Time to re-evaluate the landscape ahead? Absolutely.

We all knew that next-to-nothing interest rates had to start rising at some point.

Robert Bilkie, president of Sigma Investment Counselors in Southfield, said the eventual shift to a more normal interest rate environment has been long contemplated.

But now that day is moving closer. Bilkie compared the change to dealing with a broken leg.

"It is like getting your leg cast removed," Bilkie said.

"You feel a little wobbly walking at first, but assuming you had proper healing, you gain strength."

Bilkie said based on his read of the economy, it seems like a move to more normal rates will prove to be a good move in the long run.

Contact Susan Tompor at stompor@freepress.com or 313-222-8876.

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