US STOCKS-Wall St edges higher after Fed; Dow sets record
(Updates, adds Fed reaction, changes comment)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Sept 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged higher in volatile trading on Wednesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve renewed its pledge to keep interest rates near zero for a "considerable time" and repeated concerns over slack in the labor market, standing firm against calls to overhaul its policy statement.
Interest rate projections, however, show Fed officials expect rate hikes, when they come, will do so at a quicker pace than previously forecast. The U.S. dollar jumped against the euro and yen after the statement and data release. Shares in financials, up 0.4 percent, extended gains to end the session as one of the better performing S&P sectors took the lead on the S&P 500.
"The two statements that were clear was, of course, the 'considerable time' maintained in there and the significant underutilization, so both those terms were left over from the previous one, which tells you there is not any meaningful moves anytime soon," said Terry Dufrene, global investment specialist at JPMorgan Private Bank in New Orleans.
Stocks moved between gains and losses immediately after the statement before trending higher during Fed Chair Janet Yellen's press conference, only to pare gains towards the close as the S&P 500 reached a technical resistance point near its record intraday high. The Dow managed to inch higher to set a closing record.
"What that means is people were anticipating more than what was in the statement, so it was an anticipatory reaction versus a reaction to the fact," said Dufrene.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 24.88 points, or 0.15 percent, to 17,156.85, the S&P 500 gained 2.59 points, or 0.13 percent, to 2,001.57 and the Nasdaq Composite was added 9.43 points, or 0.21 percent, to 4,562.19.
Materials were the best performing sector, up 0.6 percent, led by a 5.2 percent gain in DuPont after activist investor Nelson Peltz's Trian Fund Management, among the biggest shareholders in the company, urged it to separate its high-growth businesses from those with strong cash flows. Continuación...