Markets Reach New Highs on Fed Support

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The S&P 500 set yet another new record high Wednesday after the Federal Reserve indicated it will maintain its asset buying program for the foreseeable future.

The S&P 500 added 1.2% to 1,587.73, shattering its intraday record of 1,576.09 set in October 2007. Technology and financial sectors spearheaded the gains.

In Washington, President Obama unveiled on Wednesday his $3.77 trillion budget for 2014, which he said would reduce deficits and strengthen the economy.

The president's newly revealed 10-year budget blueprint included about $46.5 trillion in spending and $800 billion in new taxes.

IBM ( IBM) rose 1.3% to $212 after the computer services giant was upgraded to "buy" from "neutral" by UBS which said the company is well positioned to be a winner in "IT as-a-service" given its strength in private cloud services.

Yahoo! ( YHOO) and Apple ( AAPL) have been discussing how more of Yahoo!'s services can play a prominent role on Apple's iPhone and iPad devices, people briefed on the matter told The Wall Street Journal. Yahoo gained 1.6% to $24.20.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average move higher by 0.9% to 14,802.24 while the

Nasdaq was up 1.8% to 3,297.25.

"First quarter earnings will test the resiliency of the stock market that reached an all-time high at the end of March. The big question is: will profit margins continue to rise," Mark Kravietz, managing director and partner of HighTower's Melville, New York-based MK Wealth Management said in an email. "There is a possibility that technology and healthcare can have earnings surprises on the upside."

The March Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes were released at 9 a.m. EDT instead of 2 p.m. after they were reportedly unintentionally released to some people.

The minutes showed that "all but a few" policymakers argued it would be appropriate for the Committee to continue its $85 billion a month bond-buying program at least through mid-year as the FOMC still holds to the position that the benefits of keeping the balance sheet as broad as possible outweighs the costs.

Family Dollar ( FDO) was adding 1.1% to $60.44 after the Matthews, North Carolina-based discount retailer lowered its current-year earnings forecast to up to $3.93 a share from the prior estimate of as much as $4.20 a share, as customers continue to face financial pressures and tighten their spending.

First Solar ( FSLR) was tumbling 7.7% to $36.32 after the solar panel maker surged Tuesday on better-than-expected 2013 earnings and revenue guidance.

International markets were broadly higher as China's imports grew 14.1% in March, much more than the 5.2% growth expected by economists and against a drop of 15.2% in February, calming worries about Chinese demand. In Japan, excitement over aggressive easing measures persisted. A successful Italian bond auction was also bolstering investor confidence.

The FTSE 100 in the U.K. closed up 1.17% and the DAX in Germany surged 2.27%. The Nikkei 225 in Japan finished up 0.73% Wednesday, while the Hong Kong Hang Seng index closed up 0.75%.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was falling 14/32, boosting the yield to 1.805%. The dollar was up 0.15% to $82.52 according to the U.S. dollar index.

May crude oil futures finished up 44 cents to settle at $94.64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange while gold for June delivery was plunged $27.90 to $1,558.80 an ounce.

Written by Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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