Stocks wrapped up the final trading day of the month on a flat note, but still logged their best July since 2010, as the Federal Reserve said it will maintain its bond-buying policy in its ongoing effort to bolster the economy.
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"The Fed didn't change too much in its statement," said Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist at RDM Financial Group. "While the FOMC is likely to start tapering its asset purchase program before too long, Bernanke has reminded us that he is aware of the fact that rising rates can have an effect on the economy and inflation remains low. These two factors indicate that the Fed will likely not be in a big rush unless economic data strengthens faster than expected."
Stocks traded near session highs shortly after the market open, with the Dow hitting a fresh high, boosted by a pair of better-than-expected economic reports. Stocks erased their gains soon after and chopped around in a narrow range following the Fed's widely-anticipated statement.