NEW YORK (
) -- Stocks finished lower on Wednesday, putting the September rally on hold in the wake of the yesterday's Federal Reserve meeting, as investors shifted gears and once again sent gold prices to record highs.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose as high as 10,805 early in the session but was negative the majority of the day and closed down 21 points, or 0.2%, at 10,739. The decline broke a five-day winning streak for the blue-chip index, which has risen in 13 of the last 16 sessions and is still up an impressive 7.2% this month.
fell 6 points, or 0.5%, to finish at 1,134, while the
shed 15 points, or 0.6%, to wrap up at 2,334.
Market breadth was slightly negative on the New York Stock Exchange with decliners outpacing advancers, 3-2.
Financial stocks weighed on markets, with Dow stocks
Bank of America
shedding 1.5% each. Tech stocks were also heavy losers, with
losing 2.4% to $24.54.
was a standout gainer on the Dow, climbing 4.9% to $11.72.
Investors who had hoped that the Fed would give a clear view of where the economy is headed were disappointed by the
Federal Open Market Committee's
statement on Tuesday. The FOMC reiterated expectations for tepid growth but emphasized subdued inflation pressure and promised to swoop in with additional accommodative policies, if needed. That drove gold prices to a record high Wednesday. The December Gold Contract settled $17.80 higher at $1292.1.
Gold mining stocks such as
were all trading higher during the afternoon session.
Meanwhile, the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose 7/32, diluting the yield to 2.551%, and the dollar weakened 0.7% against a basket of currencies, according to the dollar index.
"The expansion of the FOMC paragraph on inflation combined with the explicit linkage between inflation and 'additional accommodation' suggests that the key to the future of Fed policy is inflation," said UBS economists Drew Matus and Sam Coffin.
The economists believe that further quantitative easing measures are unlikely as they expect economic activity to improve, leading to higher inflation.
"We continue to believe core inflation has bottomed and, while we do not look for a rapid acceleration, we do believe technical factors will combine to move inflation higher over the next few quarters."
In other economic news, President Obama's top economic adviser,
Larry Summers, is expected to leave his post after the midterm elections, according to a report on
The Energy Information Administration reported a build of 1 million barrels to
crude oil supplies in the week ended Sept. 17. The rise was lower than the increase of 2.23 million barrels reported by the American Petroleum Industry late Tuesday but disappointed analysts' expectations for a 1.5 million barrel drawdown, according to Platts. Gasoline supplies rose by 1.6 million barrels, upsetting expectations that stockpiles would remain unchanged and distillates added 300,000 barrels, which was also larger than the 100,000-barrel build that analysts had been projecting.
The November delivery contract settled 26 cents lower at $74.71 a barrel following the inventory report.
In equities news,
narrowly beat analysts' expectations with first-quarter adjusted earnings of 64 cents a share and reiterated its year-end guidance for a profit in the range of $2.46 to $2.48 a share. Wall Street has been forecasting full-year earnings of $2.48 a share. The stock climbed 2.7% to $36.62.
plummeted 5.8% to $54.86 after
received FDA approval for the first oral treatment for Multiple Sclerosis. The stock of Novartis was off by 0.5% at $56.17.
is suing to block
from moving ahead with its hostile takeover attempt. The stock was lower by 0.7% to $146.49. BHP Billiton's shares surged 1.3% to $74.50.
, which operates Olive Garden and Red Lobster chains, delivered disappointing first-quarter sales but surpassed analysts' estimates for a earnings of 77 cents a share with a quarterly profit of 80 cents a share. The stock declined 1.3% to $43.47.
announced its acquisition of
, a vacation rental and resort real estate company, for $56 million. The stock shed 3% to $27.41.
slipped 0.9% to $52.12 following a
report that CEO Michael Geoghegan threatened to quit if he doesn't get promoted to chairman. The company has been searching to replace Chairman Stephen Green for roughly two weeks since Green left his position to become trade minister for the U.K.
, which makes energy-efficiency power conversion and management systems, announced a stock buyback program of up to 10 million shares late Tuesday. The stock gained 6% to $9.24.
in nearing a deal to buy two Japanese life-insurance companies from
, according to
The Wall Street Journal
. Prudential's stock dipped 1.9% to $56.47.
Shares of software company
were losing 19% to $26.67 on several analyst downgrades Wednesday, the day after the company cut its November sales forecast.
Overseas, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.2%, while Japan's Nikkei shed 0.4%. The FTSE in London was lost 0.3%, and the DAX in Frankfurt dropped 1.1%.
--Written by Melinda Peer and Shanthi Venkataraman in New York
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.