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  • COLUMN-Fed playing patience as inflation lags: James Saft Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 4:34 PM ET

    Dec 17- Call it patience or any of the rest of the seven virtues if you like, but the truth is that the Fed can't raise interest rates because inflation won't play along. The Federal Reserve said on Thursday it is prepared to be "patient" before hiking rates but that this means the same as its former future guidance of a "considerable time." Fed chair Janet Yellen at the...

  • NEW YORK, Dec 17- U.S. stocks rallied on Wednesday, giving the S&P 500 its best day since October 2013 as the Federal Reserve gave an upbeat assessment of the economy and said it would take a patient approach toward lifting interest rates.

  • US stocks jump as Fed promises 'patient' approach Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 4:11 PM ET

    NEW YORK— The U.S. stock market is closing with its biggest gain in more than a year after the Federal Reserve said it was in no rush to raise rates. The Federal Reserve indicated Wednesday it was moving closer to raising rates from record lows because the U.S. economy and job market are strengthening. The Standard& Poor's 500 gained 40 points, or 2 percent, to 2,012, the...

  • NEW YORK, Dec 17- U.S. stock prices jumped and the dollar strengthened on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve signaled America's economy was strong enough to handle interest rate hikes at some point in 2015, but emphasized that shifts in policy would be gradual. Wall Street, coming off three days of declines, had risen with steep gains in energy stocks even before...

  • NEW YORK, Dec 17- U.S. stocks were up more than 1 percent in Wednesday afternoon trading as the Federal Reserve gave an upbeat assessment of the economy and said it would take a patient approach toward lifting interest rates, a view that investors embraced. Stocks extended sharp gains following the statement but pared some of that increase heading into the close...

  • Motiva backs off hydrocracker expansion at Texas refinery Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 3:19 PM ET

    HOUSTON, Dec 17- Motiva Enterprises has withdrawn its permit request to expand a hydrocracker and diesel hydrotreater unit at its Texas refinery, the largest in the United States. In a brief letter received by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month, Motiva asked, without explanation, to withdraw its August permit application for the...

  • NEW YORK, Dec 17- The U.S. dollar rallied against major currencies after the Federal Reserve's latest policy statement and comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen signaled the central bank was on track to hike rates next year. The euro was last down 1.28 percent against the dollar at $1.2346 after hitting $1.2322, its lowest level against the greenback since Dec. 9.

  • Yellen sees rates staying near zero in early 2015 Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 2:57 PM ET

    WASHINGTON— Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen expects the Fed to hold a key interest rate near zero for the next three months— if not longer. After policymakers ended their December meeting, Yellen spelled out what the Fed meant in saying in a statement that it would be "patient" in deciding to raise its benchmark short-term rate, which influences many loan rates.

  • US STOCKS-Wall St adds to gains as Fed upbeat on economy Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 2:26 PM ET

    NEW YORK, Dec 17- U.S. stocks extended gains on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve gave a strong signal that it was on track to raise interest rates sometime next year, suggesting confidence in the U.S. economy. "It's pretty upbeat on the economy, and that's what the stock market is reacting to," said John Canally, investment strategist and economist at LPL Financial...

  • Dow jumps after Fed pledges patience in rate hikes Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 2:24 PM ET

    NEW YORK— The Dow Jones industrial average surged as much as 300 points after the Federal Reserve signaled it was edging closer to raising interest rates because of a strengthening U.S. economy, but promised to be "patient" in its approach. The Fed says this approach is consistent with what it called its "previous" guidance that it expected to keep the rate near zero...

  • Text of the Federal Reserve's statement Wednesday Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 2:20 PM ET

    WASHINGTON— Below is the statement the Fed released Wednesday after its policy meeting ended:. Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in October suggests that economic activity is expanding at a moderate pace. Labor market conditions improved further, with solid job gains and a lower unemployment rate.

  • CHICAGO, Dec 17- The normalization of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba is an "important opportunity" for U.S. agriculture that will make exports of U.S. farm goods cheaper, easier and less time consuming for shippers, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Wednesday. President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday that...

  • NEW YORK, Dec 17- U.S. stocks extended gains on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve gave a strong signal that it was on track to raise interest rates sometime next year, suggesting confidence in the U.S. economy.

  • Fed to be 'patient' about a rate hike; stocks soar Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 2:07 PM ET

    WASHINGTON— The Federal Reserve is edging closer to raising interest rates from record lows given a strengthening U.S. economy. At a news conference afterward, Chair Janet Yellen said she foresaw no rate hike in the first quarter of 2015.. "The Fed is sending the message that the broader U.S. economy is on the path toward healing," said Steven Ricchiuto, chief...

  • WASHINGTON, Dec 17- The Federal Reserve on Wednesday offered a strong signal that it was on track to raise interest rates sometime next year, dropping a pledge to keep them near zero for a "considerable time" in a show of confidence in the U.S. economy. In doing so, it looked beyond economic difficulties in the euro zone, Japan and Russia and offered a mostly upbeat...

  • WASHINGTON— Democrat Lauren McFerran is the newest member of the five-member National Labor Relations Board. She replaces Nancy J. Schiffer, also a Democrat, who served on the board since August 2013 and whose term expired Tuesday. Previously, McFerran served as chief labor counsel for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

  • *FedEx shares fall after earnings. NEW YORK, Dec 17- U.S. stocks climbed in early afternoon trading on Wednesday as energy sector shares surged more than 4 percent, though investors were preparing for a Federal Reserve statement that may set the stage for interest rate hikes in 2015.. "Volatility should be expected after the statement because so much is riding on...

  • Bird flu found in wild birds in Washington state - USDA Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 12:18 PM ET

    Dec 17- Two strains of avian influenza have been confirmed in wild birds in Washington state, near the U.S. border with Canada, but there is no immediate cause for public health concerns, U.S. agriculture officials said on Wednesday. The other strain, H5N8, was found in captive gyrfalcons that were fed hunter-killed wild birds, the USDA said. Neither virus has been...

  • US stocks move higher; Traders watch Fed meeting Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 11:53 AM ET

    NEW YORK— The U.S. stock market is moving higher ahead of a policy announcement from the Federal Reserve. Energy stocks rose sharply after the price of crude oil turned higher. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 152 points, or 0.9 percent, to 17,221 as of 11:45 a.m. Eastern time Wednesday.

  • FOREX-Dollar recovers ahead of Fed; rouble off lows Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 10:58 AM ET

    NEW YORK, Dec 17- The U.S. dollar rebounded against major currencies on Wednesday on expectations that the Federal Reserve would signal rate hikes were on track, while the rouble recovered as buyers stepped in to pick up the Russian currency at cheaper levels. "The market is preparing itself for a change in the Fed language," said currency strategist Mark McCormick...