US STOCKS-Wall St jumps as Fed keeps Dec rate hike in play
* Financials lead sector gains, utilities lead losses
* Apple rises after strong results
* Indexes up: Dow 1.1 pct, S&P 1.2 pct, Nasdaq 1.3 pct (Updates to close)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
Oct 28 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks ended sharply higher after a volatile session on Wednesday as the Federal Reserve gave a vote of confidence in the U.S. economy by signaling a December interest rate hike was still on the table.
S&P financials, which benefit from higher borrowing rates, shot up following the statement and led sector gains. The financial index ended up 2.4 percent, its biggest percentage gain in seven weeks. The KBW Nasdaq regional bank index jumped 4.1 percent.
S&P utilities, which tend to do worse when interest rates are rising, fell 1.1 percent and led S&P sector declines.
The central bank left interest rates unchanged, as was expected, and, in a direct reference to its next meeting, put a December rate hike firmly in play. But it also downplayed global economic headwinds in its statement.
Stocks initially sold off following the statement but quickly rebounded to end at the day's highs as investors saw the statement as a sign the Fed has confidence the U.S. economy can sustain a rake hike. Continuación...