Major U.S. stock indexes mostly held onto gains in afternoon trading Wednesday after the Federal Reserve increased interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point as expected and signaled it could pause further hikes.
The unanimous decision lifted the U.S. central bank’s benchmark overnight interest rate to the 5.00%-5.25% range.
“This move is consistent with our slow-flation theme, where we think we will see sub-par growth and inflation only gradually returning to 2%,” said Brian Jacobsen, chief economist at Annex Wealth Management in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 12.5 points, or 0.04%, to 33,697.03, the S&P 500 (.SPX) gained 9.84 points, or 0.24%, to 4,129.42 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 58.86 points, or 0.49%, to 12,139.36.
Earlier on Wednesday, data showed U.S. private employers boosted hiring in April, but there are signs that the labor market is slowing amid higher interest rates.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.88-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.04-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 24 new 52-week highs and 6 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 55 new highs and 181 new lows.