US stocks rise as Fed keeps aggressive easing in place
US stocks recorded solid gains on Wednesday as the Federal Reserve held steady on its policy of economic stimulus.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 55.91 points (0.39 per cent) at 14,511.73.
The broad-based S&P 500 picked up 10.37 (0.67 per cent) at 1,558.71, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index increased 25.09 (0.78 per cent) to 3,254.19.
The Federal Reserve, as widely expected, kept its monetary easing policies in place as it trimmed its this year and next year growth forecasts for the US economy.
The policies have boosted shares and been seen as a major factor in the Dow’s recent record-setting performance.
Barclays predicted the Fed will continue its asset purchases at the current US$85 billion-a-month pace through the end of the year, “before beginning to slow purchases sometime in the first half of next year.”
Federal Express fell 6.9 per cent after reporting earnings below expectations. The company also gave a tepid outlook for this year, noting “accelerating customer preference for lower-yielding international services.”
American Realty Capital Properties, a real estate investment trust specializing in commercial properties, rose 5.2 per cent after announcing that it proposed to buy Cole Credit Property Trust III for more than US$9 billion, including assumption of debt.
Homebuilder Lennar edged up 4.8 per cent after reporting solid quarterly earnings and pointing to strong trends in the housing market, such as higher home prices.
Williams-Sonoma leaped 10.3 per cent after announcing a 41 per cent dividend increase and a three-year US$750 million stock repurchase program.
Anadarko Petroleum and its partners moved higher after announcing a significant petroleum discovery in the Gulf of Mexico. Anadarko rose 3.8 per cent, Cobalt International leaped 8.1 per cent, Marathon Oil added 1.9 per cent and ConocoPhillips climbed 1.9 per cent.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals gained 2.7 per cent after announcing a plan to acquire Obagi Medical Products, which surged 28.2 per cent.
Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.94 per cent from 1.91 per cent late Tuesday, while the 30-year rose to 3.17 per cent from 3.13 per cent. Prices move inversely to yields.