US STOCKS-Dow, S&P 500 at records as Fed-driven rally continues
* Financials lead gains; Goldman gains 1.7 pct
* Oracle shares down after hours
* Indexes up: Dow 0.64 pct; S&P 0.49 pct; Nasdaq 0.68 pct
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Sept 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Thursday, a day after the U.S. Federal Reserve kept intact its pledge to keep interest rates low, providing a backstop for investors that helped lift both the Dow and S&P to record highs.
The Fed said Wednesday at the conclusion of a two-day policy meeting it would keep interest rates near zero for a "considerable time," language supportive of equities which some had expected to be dropped from the statement.
The central bank's outlook on Wednesday included forecasts for higher-than-expected rates in 2015 and 2016, which helped financial stocks rise 1.1 percent, leading the day's gains on Wall Street. Goldman Sachs rose 1.7 percent to $187.89, the biggest boost to the Dow.
U.S. equity markets have rallied for three consecutive sessions as the Fed's stance eased investor worries the central bank was ready to pivot away from its years-long policy of holding rates at rock bottom levels, which stimulated demand for risk assets like stocks.
That support has lifted the benchmark S&P 500 to 34 records in 2014, and has helped markets sidestep a 10-percent "correction" for almost three years, even while individual market sectors have seen multiple pullbacks. Continuación...