* Central bank expects to cut balance sheet “relatively soon”
* Major indexes in record territory on busy earnings day
* Indexes up: Dow 0.41 pct, S&P 0.06 pct, Nasdaq 0.14 pct (Updates with reaction to Fed statement)
By Lewis Krauskopf
July 26 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks added slightly to gains on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged and said it expected to start winding down its massive holdings of bonds “relatively soon” in a sign of confidence in the U.S. economy.
The Fed’s statement did not dramatically sway Wall Street’s major indexes, which hit record highs earlier in the session on a busy day of corporate earnings reports.
As broadly expected by investors, the U.S. central bank maintained its benchmark lending rate and said it was continuing the slow path of monetary tightening.
In the statement following a two-day policy meeting, the Fed’s rate-setting committee indicated the economy was growing moderately and job gains had been solid. But it noted that both overall inflation and a measure of underlying price gains had declined and said it would “carefully monitor” price trends.
“They were very balanced. If you rank the outcomes that they could have hoped for this is probably the best one,” said Aaron Kohli, interest rate strategist at BMO Capital Markets in New York. “They didn’t give the market any new information really to trade.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 89.49 points, or 0.41 percent, to 21,702.92, the S&P 500 gained 1.53 points, or 0.06 percent, to 2,478.66 and the Nasdaq Composite added 8.72 points, or 0.14 percent, to 6,420.89. (Additional reporting by Karen Brettell in New York and Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D‘Silva and Nick Zieminski)