The Fed retained language signaling its plans to keep short-term rates low "for a considerable time" after it ends its monthly bond purchases after its next meeting in October.
The decision sent the Dow Jones industrial to a record high. The Dow closed up about 25 points to its 16th record high this year.
"What we heard from the Fed today is really what investors like to hear," McBride said. "The stimulus isn't going to go away overnight."
In its statement, the Fed said it will make another $10 billion cut in the pace of its Treasury and mortgage bond purchases, which have been intended to keep long-term borrowing rates low.
"In the Fed's mind, the economy still has work to do, but it's improving," said Mike Arone, an investment strategist with State Street Global Advisors.
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The Fed also clarified the process by which it will eventually unwind its low-rate policies. The Fed said it would first raise its key short-term rate before it stops reinvesting its bond holdings, which have driven the Fed's balance sheet to a record of nearly $4.5 trillion.
The central bank also issued updated forecasts for growth, inflation and interest rates. The median short-term rate supported by Fed policymakers at the end of 2015 is now 1.38 percent, up from 1.13 percent at its June meeting. This suggested pressure from some Fed officials for a faster rate increase than the Fed's statement implied.
The Fed also expects slower growth this year and next than in its last projections issued in June. It predicts that the economy will grow about 2.1 percent this year, down from its June forecast of roughly 2.2 percent. That reduction likely reflects the sharp contraction in the first quarter of this year. The economy has rebounded solidly since then.
On the eve of the Fed's meeting this week, the financial world had been on high alert for whether the Fed would reiterate that it expects to keep its key short-term rate near zero for a "considerable time" after the bond buying ends.
With job growth solid, manufacturing and construction growing and unemployment at a near-normal 6.1 percent, many analysts had suggested that the Fed was edging closer to a rate increase to prevent a rising economy from igniting inflation.
The number of U.S. job openings is near its highest level in 13 years. Layoffs have dwindled. And consumer confidence has reached its highest point in nearly seven years.
Despite the signs of a stronger economy, most economists think the first increase in the Fed's short-term rate won't occur until mid-2015.
The Fed's new statement retained language stating that a range of labor market indicators "suggests there remains significant underutilization of labor resources."
Meeting with reporters after the Fed meeting, Chair Janet Yellen said she still thought the job market has yet to fully recover.
"There are still too many people who want jobs but cannot find them, too many who are working part time but would prefer full-time work and too many who are not searching for a job but would be if the labor market were stronger," Yellen said.