(Updated with stock and commodity prices.)
NEW YORK (
) -- After thriving for much of Wednesday, stocks retreated in a big way just before the close as the
signaled no change to its key interest rate.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
closed higher by 30.2 points, or 0.3%, to 9802.1. The
gained 1.1 points, or 0.1%, at 1046.5, though the
turned negative in the final moments, sliding 1.8 points, or 0.1%, to 2055.5.
The Dow, after opening slightly lower, hit an intraday high of 9928.04, up 156 points, around 2:40 p.m. EST.
After the market close, Dow component
beat profit estimates in reporting earnings per share at an adjusted 36 cents. Shares for the tech bellwether were moving higher by 3.4% in after hours trading.
"In essence, the Fed statement didn't include anything that rocked the boat," says Richard Sparks, senior equities analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research. "I think the market really got everything it could have expected from the report."
The Federal Open Market Committee said it would maintain record low rates between 0% and 0.25%, while noting that household spending "appears to be expanding."
After initial volatility in the statement's wake, as is usual following FOMC announcements, stocks climbed to session highs. But in the last half hour of trading, the major averages pulled back as the dollar ticked up.
Earlier today, the Institute for Supply Management's service sector index ticked lower to 50.6 in October from a 50.9 reading in September. But many were interpreting the showing positively, with two straight months of a reading over 50, a mark that denotes growth. Analysts expected a rise to 51.5.
ADP's private sector employment data showed that 203,000 jobs were slashed from payrolls in October, compared to forecasts expecting a loss of 190,000 jobs, according to Thomson Reuters. But the report also revised the number of jobs lost in September down to 227,000 vs. the 254,000 originally reported.
On Friday, the unemployment picture will come into full view when the Labor Department releases its nonfarm payroll numbers and unemployment rate for October.
was the Dow's biggest winner, gaining 6.4% following the announced completion of its merger with Schering-Plough. The company said it is targeting high single-digit compound annual earnings growth to 2013, along with about $3.5 billion in annual cost savings past 2011.
( KFT) was the index's biggest loser, falling 3.2% after the snack maker reported a
40% drop in third-quarter profit after Tuesday's closing bell.
Helping to fuel commodities, the Energy Information Administration said crude stockpiles plummeted by 4 million barrels last week to 335.9 million. Analysts polled by Platts expected a 1.3 million barrel build.
With dollar weakness highlighting much of the day, crude oil futures rose 80 cents to settle at $80.40. Gold settled at $1,087.30 an ounce, up $2.40.
Elsewhere, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo
brought an antitrust suit against
, alleging a kickback scheme that unfairly hurt rivals.
Overseas, the FTSE in London added 1.4%, while the DAX in Frankfurt rose 1.7%. In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng tracked higher by 1.8%, as Japan's Nikkei grew by 0.4%.
--Written by Sung Moss in New York
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