The Nasdaq Composite on Wednededay ended solidly higher but the broader market closed weaker as the Federal Reserve signaled that the countdown has begun on scaling back its massive support for the U.S. economy, but a decision still appeared a ways away. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
closed down by about 128 points, or 0.4%, at 34,930, the S&P 500 index
was virtually flat, but in negative territory, to end at around 4,400. The benchmarks declined for the second straight session. The Nasdaq
meanwhile, closed up 0.7% at roughly 14,762. The Fed kept interest rates at a range between 0% and 0.25%, as expected, and Powell indicated that the central bank was in no immediate rush to scale back on its monthly purchases of $120 billion in Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities, which the Chairman said would continue until “substantial further progress” was made toward the Fed’s goals of low unemployment and inflation reaching 2%. The Fed statement said that the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committe “will continue to assess progress in coming meetings.” Meanwhile, the small-capitalization Russell 2000 index
finished sharply higher, up around 1.6%, at last check. Separately, the 10-year Treasury note
was up 2.4 basis points at 1.259%.