Stocks Drift Lower Despite Softening Fed

It was all about the Federal Reserve today, as the central bank imposed a quarter-point interest rate hike while signaling its rate-hiking strategy is coming to an end. Fed Chair Jerome Powell, in prepared remarks at the conclusion of the meeting, noted only one more hike is expected this year, a decision that follows a rough patch for the bank sector.

After the announcement, the 10-year Treasury yield moved sharply lower. The Dow erased a triple-digit lead to finish 530 points lower, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq also drifted into the red later in the afternoon.

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Oil prices settled firmly higher on Wednesday, as the central bank seemed to at least partially back off its hawkish stance. April-dated crude rose $1.23, or 1.8%, to close at $70.90 per barrel on the day.

Gold prices finished higher as well, following the Federal Reserve's interest rate decision. April-dated gold rose $8.50, or 0.4%, to settle at $1,949.60 per ounce.

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