U.S. stock-index benchmarks produced little reaction on Thursday afternoon to the Federal Reserve’s decision to leave its policy plan unchanged, as widely expected. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.02% was virtually unchanged, rising 47 points, or 0.2%, at 26,227, while the S&P 500 traded down 0.3% SPX, -0.32% and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.48% held a firm 0.6% decline. The indexes saw a slight knee-jerk reaction lower immediately following the Fed’s updated policy statement, which underscored the central bank’s commitment to gradually and consistently normalizing monetary policy, with the most likely rate hike occurring next month. The Fed reiterated its view that the domestic economy remains healthy, saying that the “risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced,” while noting that business investment had moderated from “its rapid pace earlier this year,” possibly an allusion to the effects of continuing trade tensions between China and the U.S. Policy makers held the federal-funds rate at a range between 2% and 2.25%, and didn’t mention turmoil that rocked the market in October. The conclusion of Thursday’s meeting marks the last time the Fed will deliver a policy statement without accompanying it with a news conference hosted by Chairman Jerome Powell.
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