Updated from 4:09 p.m. EST
Stocks closed moderately lower Wednesday after the
raised interest rates by a quarter-point for the fourth time since late June.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
fell 0.89 point, or 0.01%, to 10,385.48, having been up more than 50 points at one point in the session. The
fell 1.17 points, or 0.10%, to 1162.91. The
shed 8.77 points, or 0.43%, to 2034.56, after closing at a new four-month high Tuesday.
Volume on the
New York Stock Exchange
was about 1.49 billion shares, similar to Tuesday's turnover, with advancing stocks leading declining ones by a 5-to-4 margin. Decliners edged out advancers on the Nasdaq, where 1.83 billion shares changed hands.
In credit markets, the 10-year Treasury note fell 3/32 to yield 4.24%. The dollar was higher against the yen and touched a new record low against the euro.
The decision of the Fed's monetary policy panel puts the fed funds rate at 2%, its highest level in three years although still low by historical standards.
"The committee believes that, even after this action, the stance of monetary policy remains accommodative and, coupled with robust underlying growth in productivity, is providing ongoing support to economic activity," the Fed said.
Oil prices gained after a government report that showed another build in U.S. crude inventories, but a decline in distillates -- which include heating oil. In Nymex floor trading, the December crude contract closed $1.49 higher at $48.86 a barrel. The contract lost $1.72 a barrel and ended at a seven-week low Tuesday.
Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist with Spencer Clarke, said: "The only thing that could really spoil what appears to be a fairly positive market outlook is if the Fed became more aggressive in raising rates over the next several meetings.
"However, I think that's unlikely," added Sheldon. "Overall, the Fed is likely to continue raising rates at a measured pace."
On the economic front, the government said the nation's trade deficit fell to $51.56 billion in September, from $53.55 billion in August. The consensus forecast was $53.4 billion. In another report, initial weekly jobless claims rose 2,000 to 330,000 in the most recent week. Economists expected a reading of 340,000.
was lower after posting first-quarter earnings that matched estimates and guiding second-quarter sales toward the low end of forecasts. The network-equipment maker earned $1.4 billion, or 21 cents a share, in the first quarter, compared with $1.09 billion, or 15 cents a share, last year.
On a pro forma basis that excludes certain costs, earnings rose to 21 cents a share from 17 cents a share a year earlier, matching the Thomson First Call analyst estimate. For the second quarter, Cisco projected a sequential rise of 1% to 3% in revenue. Analysts had forecast sales of $6.2 billion, which assumes 3% growth. The stock closed down $1.31, or 6.6%, to $18.44.
Two other hardware makers could come under pressure after being downgraded to neutral from buy at UBS.
, which reports earnings Thursday, and
both were reduced at the brokerage on concerns about slowing demand for personal computers.
For Dell, UBS argued that the company's size is making growth increasingly difficult, while for Hewlett-Packard, the brokerage said price increases are being held down by competition. Dell fell 58 cents, or 1.6%, to $36.85, while H-P lost 73 cents, or 3.7%, to $18.97.
The number of nonfinancial companies sporting triple-A credit ratings from both major ratings houses fell to six from seven last night when Moody's cut
to Aa2. Moody's cited the fallout from Merck's withdrawal of its Vioxx arthritis drug and said the rating could be cut again if the drugmaker's liability grows above $10 billion in the next three years. S&P's triple-A Merck rating is currently on review.
Merck rose 41 cents, or 1.6%, to $26.41.
was under pressure following news of a study that concluded there were health risks associated with the use of its arthritis drug Bextra. Shares fell 52 cents, or 1.9%, to $27.47.
reported a 52% jump in fourth-quarter profit. Texas-based Horton had net income of $349.6 million, or $1.47 a share, vs. $230.7 million, or 98 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue increased 23% to $3.5 billion. Analysts were expecting $1.22 a share.
Wall Street's efforts to find a fair value for
continued apace Wednesday with CSFB raising its price target to $225. The brokerage advised clients to buy the stock on its recent weakness ahead of an expected strong holiday season. CSFB said the potential dilution from the sale of stock by insiders is being overestimated.
Google fell 84 cents, or 0.5%, to $167.46.