MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stocks Trade In Record Territory As Fed Stands Pat On Interest Rates

By Sue Chang and Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Boeing soars, accounting for bulk of Dow gain

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The U.S. stock market continued its foray into record territory Wednesday as the Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged and reaffirmed it will soon start reducing its $4.5 trillion balance sheet.

The S&P 500 index rose almost 2 points to 2,479, with seven of its 11 main sectors trading higher. Telecoms were leading the gains, climbing 2.9%, putting the group on pace for its best daily advance since August 2015, according to FactSet data, following stronger-than-expected earnings from AT&T.

The Nasdaq Composite Index added 9 points, or 0.2%, to 6,422. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 98 points, or 0.5%, to 21,712, setting an all-time intraday high of 21,742. Among blue-chip companies, Boeing Co.(BA) shares surged to a new record.

The Fed's statement for July was not significantly different from its previous remarks in June but the central bank did touch on subdued inflation.

Read:Fed to wind down bond holdings 'relatively soon' (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-to-wind-down-bond-holdings-relatively-soon-2017-07-26)

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Fed officials are "hypersensitive" about upsetting investors, said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank, who expects balance-sheet tapering to begin some time in October. "While it's difficult to assess how investors will ultimately react, particularly if other central banks follow suit, the good news is that central bankers would likely turn on their heels and reverse course if equity investors got too upset," he said in a note.

Aside from the central bank, earnings continued to bolster sentiment following solid results from heavyweights Boeing and AT&T Inc.

"The market is right to be driven by earnings and so far we've had enough upside surprises. Because it has been the most hated bull market, there is still room to grow," said Kim Forrest, senior portfolio manager at Fort Pitt Capital.

Economic docket: The Commerce Department said new-home sales in June came in at a 610,000 annual pace, a pickup of 0.8% from downwardly revised May data.

Stock movers: Shares in Advanced Micro Devices Inc.(AMD) soared 5.9% after the chip maker reported stronger-than-anticipated earnings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/amd-jumps-after-beating-on-earnings-raising-forecast-2017-07-25) and raised its guidance late Tuesday.

See:AMD earnings give investors what they wanted, now it must deliver more (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/amd-earnings-give-investors-what-they-wanted-now-it-must-deliver-2017-07-25)

Telecom (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/att-shares-rise-more-than-2-as-company-beats-earnings-expectations-2017-07-25) company AT&T Inc. (T) jumped 4.5% after the company posted better-than-expected earnings late Tuesday.

Healthy burrito chain (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chipotle-shares-rise-as-earnings-beat-wall-streets-estimates-2017-07-25)Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.(CMG) initially rose following stronger-than-expected results, but reversed to trade 2.1% lower.

Biotech giant Amgen Inc.(AMGN) fell 2.9% following its quarterly report (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/amgen-shares-down-3-after-companys-guidance-on-lower-end-of-expectations-2017-07-25).

Coca-Cola Co.(KO) gained 1% after the beverage company reported better-than-expected earnings and lifted its full-year earnings outlook.

Ford Motor Co.(F) shares fell 1.9% even thought the car maker reported earnings above Wall Street expectations and gave positive guidance for the full year.

Insurer Anthem Inc.(ANTM) shares slid 2.4% as quarterly earnings came in above expectations, but revenue fell short.

Facebook Inc.'s (FB) earnings release is on tap after the market closes Wednesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/facebook-earnings-after-a-sudden-change-instagram-is-in-focus-2017-07-24).

Other markets: European stock markets were uniformly higher while Asian markets (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/japan-aussie-stocks-continue-to-rise-spurred-on-by-commodity-prices-2017-07-26) closed mixed. Gold futures firmed slightly and a key dollar index reversed course to fall 0.3% following the Fed decision.

Oil futures climbed on data that showed that U.S. inventories have fallen sharply for a fourth straight week.

See:Here's why oil just scored its biggest one-day rally of 2017 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-oil-prices-scored-their-biggest-one-day-rally-of-2017-2017-07-25)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 26, 2017 14:33 ET (18:33 GMT)