US stocks rose, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to an all-time high, after the Federal Reserve hinted at a slightly faster pace of interest-rate increases starting next year but repeated that rates will remain low for a “considerable time”.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 98 points or 0.58%, to end at 16,907. The S&P 500 gained 15 points or 0.77%, to 1,957, a record closing high. The Nasdaq Composite added 26 points or 0.59%, to 4,363.
After a two-day policy meeting, the US central bank slashed its forecast for US economic growth this year to a range of between 2.1% and 2.3% from an earlier projection of around 2.9%. But the Fed's forecasts for 2015 and 2016 were unchanged, and it expressed confidence that the recovery was on track.
As widely expected, the Fed pushed ahead with plans to wind down one of its main stimulus programmes, reducing its monthly bond purchases to $35 billion from $45 billion.
Among the biggest gainers was FedEx Corp FDX.N, which rose 6.2% after hitting an all-time intraday high of $149.34. The world's No. 2 package delivery company reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue.
Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O shares jumped 2.7% after chief executive Jeff Bezos unveiled a "Fire" smartphone with free, unlimited photo storage.
Adobe Systems ADBE.O shares shot up 8.2% after the maker of Photoshop and Acrobat software reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue.
On the negative side, ConAgra Foods CAG.N slid 7.3% after the maker of Hunt's tomato ketchup and Slim Jim beef jerky warned about fourth-quarter results.
In Asia, shares gained on Thursday in morning trade after the US Fed said interest rates will remain low for some time as US growth rebounds, and Premier Li Keqiang pledged to sustain China’s economic growth forecast.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 1% to 145 as of 9:37 a.m. in Hong Kong. Japan’s Topix gained 1.2% today, climbing for a third day and poised for it highest close in almost five months. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 1% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.5%. South Korea’s Kospi index added 0.3%. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index, Taiwan’s Taiex index, Singapore’s Straits Times Index and the Shanghai Composite Index all added 0.1%.