U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday, with the Dow ending at a record and the S&P 500 back above 2,000, after the Federal Reserve said it was nearing the end of its asset purchases and reiterated it would not hike interest rates for a 'considerable' period.
"Basically not much change in Fed policy; they'll only move when they are very comfortable that conditions have improved significantly. The overall path for policy that they've been on continues to be a path they are comfortable with," said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones.
In its statement released after its two-day meeting, the Fed left largely intact key provisions and cut its bond buying down to $15 billion a month, while indicating the asset purchases would end altogether in October.
In a news conference in the wake of the Fed policy decision, Fed Chair Janet Yellen reiterated there continued to be "significant under-utilization" in the labor force, with inflation running below the Fed's objectives.
"It's ridiculous that we're back in this mode of worrying about every Fed word out there. For long-term investors, we know rates are going to rise, so let's start positioning for that, rather than worrying about whether rates rise in May or June," said James Liu, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds.
"As investors shift their focus away from the Fed and back to fundamentals, it will continue to drive stocks higher because they (fundamentals) are in fact improving," said Warne at Edward Jones.