US close: Stocks close mostly lower following Fed announcement
Wall Street recorded some mixed trading on Thursday following solid gains during the previous session, as focus shifted from yesterday's mid-terms to the latest policy announcement from the Federal Reserve.
At the close, the Dow Jones was 0.04% higher at 26,191.22, while the S&P 500 closed 0.25% lower at 2,806.83 and the Nasdaq had lost 0.53% to 7,530.88.
Stocks ended mostly lower on Thursday, following sharp gains seen the day before, after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged, but said the Committee "expects further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate."
The US central bank decided to stay put on interest rates, reiterating that it expected a "gradual" pace of interest rate hikes to be needed in order to sustain the ecomomic expansion and the "strong" labour market, while keeping inflation near its "symmetric" 2.0% target.
Following its deliberations, the Federal Open Market Committee kept the target range for the Fed funds rate at between 2.0% to 2.25%.
In their post-meeting statement, policymakers at the Federal Reserve also said gauges of inflation expectations were "little changed on balance" and that they continued to see the risks to the economic outlook as balanced.
They did note the "moderation" in the pace of business investment in comparison to earlier in the year, but overall the statement was upbeat, describing the economy, hiring and consumption as strong.
In an immediate reaction to Thursday's unanimous decision, the yield on the benchmark two-year US Treasury note was flat at 2.96% and that on the 10-year note was unchanged at 3.23%.
Elsewhere on the data front, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits nudged lower last week, according to figures from the Labor Department.
US initial jobless claims dropped by 1,000 to 214,000, in line with expectations. Meanwhile, the previous week's level was revised up by 1,000.
The four-week moving average came in at 213,750, down 250 from the previous week's average, which was revised up by 250.
The four-week average is considered more reliable as it smooths out sharp fluctuations in the more volatile weekly figures, giving a more accurate picture of the health of the labour market.
In corporate news, shares in electric car maker Tesla were up 0.93% as it named Australian executive Robyn Denholm as its new chairman after founder Elon Musk was forced to give up the role.
Housebuilder DR Horton lost 8.97% despite posting a 49% jump in quarterly profit on the back of solid demand.
Elsewhere, telecommunications equipment manufacturer Arris International closed 10.40% higher after agreeing to be bought by CommScope Holding in a $7.4bn deal.
Healthcare services group Cardinal Health lost 4.62% throughout the session despite turning in some better-than-expected first-quarter earnings per share, while media holding company Gannett slumped 3.08% after posting its third-quarter earnings.