The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) spent most of the session trading modestly higher, as stocks reacted to rebounding oil prices and a fresh batch of economic data. However, after the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) raised its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points, as expected, the Dow jumped to a triple-digit lead. This is the second rate hike since December, with the central bank sticking to its forecast for two additional increases by the end of the year. While the FOMC statement cited "realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation" for the hike, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a subsequent press conference, "The simple message is the economy is doing well." By the close, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (COMP) were comfortably higher, settling at their loftiest perches since March 1.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 20,950.10) came within 23 points of the 21,000 mark before settling up 112 points, or 0.5%. Caterpillar shares led 24 of the 30 Dow stocks higher with their 1.6% gain, while American Express paced the six decliners with its 0.6% loss.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,385.26) tacked on 19.8 points, or 0.8%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 5,900.05), meanwhile, added 43.2 points, or 0.7%, after trading north of its record closing high in intraday action.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 11.63) shed 0.7 point, or 5.5%.
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Data courtesy of Trade-Alert
Crude oil snapped its seven-session losing streak, after the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported an unexpected drop in U.S. inventories. At session's end, April-dated crude futures were up $1.14, or 2.4%, at $48.86 per barrel.
Gold prices closed lower ahead of this afternoon's Fed decision, with gold for April delivery settling down $1.90, or 0.2%, at $1,200.70 an ounce. The malleable metal has bounced off the highly watched $1,200 level in post-Fed after-hours trading, though, last seen trading up 1.2%.
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