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Fed's Decision Lifts Utility, Material and Industrial Stocks

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks during a press conference announcing that the Fed will take no action on interest rates at the Federal Reserve Bank on January 25, 2012 in Washington, DC
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Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks during a press conference announcing that the Fed will take no action on interest rates at the Federal Reserve Bank on January 25, 2012 in Washington, DC

Utility, material and industrial companies led the gains in the S&P 500 index on Wednesday, after the Federal Reserve announced it will keep interest rates near zero in the long-term.

"The committee decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at zero to one four percent, " said Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke at a news conference.

"We currently anticipate that economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least until late 2014."

Utility stocks traded higher after the announcement, as investors sought high-yielding assets.

In fact, both the utilities and material sectors reversed course in the afternoon after lagging all morning.

Separately, commodities also rose while the US dollar weakened. Gold futures for February delivery, for example, settled $1,700.1 per ounce, their highest level since December 9.

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