* S&P 500 and Dow turn positive for the year
* Indexes up: Dow 1.05 pct, S&P 0.77 pct, Nasdaq 0.24 pct (Updates to afternoon)
By Laila Kearney
March 17 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average turned positive for the year on Thursday, a day after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled fewer interest rate hikes for the year.
The Fed’s dovish stance weighed on the U.S. dollar, which catapulted commodity prices to their highest levels this year. The best performing sectors in the S&P 500 were materials and energy.
“It’s a continued reaction from the Fed’s move yesterday,” said David Lefkowitz, senior equities analyst at UBS Americas Wealth Management in New York.
The Fed on Wednesday pointed to moderate U.S. economic growth and strong job gains but cautioned about risks from an uncertain global economy. The central bank pointed to the possibility of two more rate hikes before the end of the year, having laid out four hikes in 2016 when it raised rates in December.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 181.96 points, or 1.05 percent, to 17,507.72, the S&P 500 had gained 15.59 points, or 0.77 percent, to 2,042.81 and the Nasdaq Composite had added 11.60 points, or 0.24 percent, to 4,775.57.
U.S. crude was up 4.42 percent at $40.15 a barrel and the market pinned its hopes on a plan by major oil producers to freeze output to mitigate a global glut..
Healthcare was the only decliner among the 10 major S&P 500 sectors. It fell 0.98 percent, dragged down by Eli Lilly’s 4.5-percent fall.
Industrials gained 2 percent, propped up by General Electric’s 2.9-percent rise to $31.06. The stock gave the biggest boost to the S&P 500.
FedEx was up 10.9 percent at $160.01 after the package delivery company forecast better-than-expected full-year earnings.
Endo International was down 12.5 percent at $29.68, after the drugmaker forecast first-quarter results below estimates.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 2,473 to 562, for a 4.40-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,856 issues rose and 901 fell for a 2.06-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 59 new 52-week highs and 6 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 65 new highs and 72 new lows. (Additional reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar; Editing by Nick Zieminski)