US STOCKS-Wall St surges as Fed statement relieves rate worries
* Indexes up: Dow 1.3 pct, S&P 1.2 pct, Nasdaq 0.9 pct
* Oil rallies, energy shares gain
* Fed removes "patient" from its language (Updates to close)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, March 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rallied on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve suggested a less aggressive timeline for raising interest rates even as it opened the door for the first hike in almost a decade.
The Fed dropped its pledge to be "patient" in deciding when to begin raising rates, but it cut its interest-rate projections over the next few years and downgraded its outlook for the U.S. economy.
While the statement put a June rate increase on the table, it also allowed the Fed flexibility to move later, stressing that any decision would depend on incoming data.
All 10 S&P sectors were higher on the day, with the S&P 500 ending within 1 percent of its record close set earlier this month. Stocks had been trading lower ahead of the Fed announcement.
"By lowering its expectations for the pace at which rates will rise, it sent a clear signal that it is in no hurry to push rates higher as it views the economy as growing only moderately," said David Joy, chief market strategist at Ameriprise Financial in Boston. Continuación...