S&P 500 Pares Gains After Hitting Record High as Fed Holds Rates Steady

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Investing.com – The S&P 500 gave up some gains after hitting record intraday highs Wednesday, as the Federal Reserve left rates steady and signaled ongoing support for the recovery. 

The S&P 500 was up 0.1%, after hitting a intraday record of 4,201.85. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.41%, or 137 points, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.4%.

The Fed left its benchmark rate unchanged, and said that while the the pace of recovery has improved, there was still a long way to go until the economy achieves its inflation and labor market objectives. 

“Amid progress on vaccinations and strong policy support, indicators of economic activity and employment have strengthened. The sectors most adversely affected by the pandemic remain weak but have shown improvement,” the Fed said in a statement.

The unchanged central bank decision pressured bond yields, helping tech cut some of its losses following mixed corporate earnings.    

Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) reported first-quarter results that topped analysts and announced a $50 billion share buyback, sending its shares more than 3% higher.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) fell more than 2% even as the tech giant reported better-than-expected results, underpinned by strength in its cloud business. The results were well-received on Wall Street, with several analysts lifting their price targets on the stock.

“We maintain our outperform and are raising our price target to $310 vs. $300 reflecting the cloud strength seen this quarter,” Wedbush said in a note.

Chip stocks fell 1% as Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) gave up its intraday gains despite posting blowout first-quarter results.

Spotify Technology (NYSE:SPOT) slumped about 11% despite reporting quarterly results above consensus estimates and guiding for a smaller than expected loss for the second quarter.

Energy stocks, meanwhile, were boosted by a rise in oil prices after data showing a smaller-than-expected build in weekly U.S. crude inventories cooled investor worries that rising global infections will soften demand.

Crude oil inventories edged higher by 90,000 barrels last week, compared with analysts’ expectations for a build of 659,000 barrels.

Boeing Co (NYSE:BA), down 3%, was a drag on the Dow as the aircraft maker’s narrower-than-expected loss didn’t offset concerns that aviation demand will continue to be challenged as the pandemic impact continued.

In other news, President Biden is expected to pitch his $1.8 trillion “American Families Plan” to Congress later today. Biden plans to fund the package, which will include funding for additional expenditures on childcare and education, by nearly doubling the capital gains tax for Americans making over $1 million per year.