(Updates, adds Fed reaction, changes comment)
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Sept 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were rising in mid-afternoon 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, and shares in the financial sector took the lead on the S&P 500.
The statement “is largely the same, but the dots (projections) are more hawkish, the exit strategy itself being out there is more hawkish and the timing of the first rate also more hawkish,” said John Canally, investment strategist and economist for LPL Financial in Boston. “I think (Fed Chair Janet) Yellen might try to massage it, as she typically does to weigh more on the dovish side.”
Yellen began a press conference at 2:30 p.m. EDT (1830 GMT).
The Dow Jones industrial average was rising 42.16 points, or 0.25 percent, at 17,174.13, the S&P 500 was gaining 6.91 points, or 0.35 percent, at 2,005.89 and the Nasdaq Composite was adding 19.90 points, or 0.44 percent, at 4,572.66.
U.S. consumer prices fell for the first time in nearly 1-1/2 years in August and underlying inflation pressures were muted, giving the Fed more ammunition in its argument to keep rates low. (Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)