U.S. stocks declined on Wednesday afternoon, a day after the S&P 500 took its biggest hit in more than three weeks, as the energy sector expanded losses after U.S. crude settled at its lowest since March 2009.
The Federal Open Market Committee stuck to its vow to be "patient" on hiking interest rates and raised its view of the economy and labor market, even as the central bank said it anticipates inflation to fall further in the near term.
"The Fed did lean towards letting the market know it's likely to remain accommodative; the real debate is going to take place in June," Michael Arone, chief investment strategist for State Street Gobal Advisors' U.S. intermediary business.
Boeing rose after the jet manufacturer and Dow component posted quarterly profit that surpassed estimates.
The CBOE Volatility Index, one measure of investor uncertainty, jumped 19 percent to 20.44.
A day after disappointing reports from multinationals, Apple's stunning results brought temporary relief.
"Apple's results were unapologetically fantastic and Boeing reported impressive results," said Jim Russell, portfolio manager at Bahl & Gaynor, referring to the timing of rate hikes by the central bank.
"The dollar strength has been in the past a catalyst for some pretty nasty downturns. A strong dollar in a world where the global tide is not rising makes it difficult to increase your slice of the pie," Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank, said.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Federal Reserve concludes its first two-day policy session of 2015, saying the timing of rate hikes depends on economic data.
"There is a legitimate case for them to hold off, and a legitimate case for the middle of the year," Russell said of the timing of rate hikes by the central bank.