U.S. stocks edged higher Wednesday to end April mixed, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average setting an all-time closing high, as investors were reassured by the policy statement from the Federal Reserve's two- day meeting.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 45.47 points, or 0.27 percent, to 16,580.84, eclipsing its previous record closing high of 16,576.66 points set on Dec. 31, 2013. The S&P 500 added 5.62 points, or 0.30 percent, to 1,883.95. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 11.01 points, or 0.27 percent, to 4,114.56.
Following the release of the statement in the afternoon, the market regained steam a little bit after a seesaw trading session earlier, sending the underperforming Nasdaq into positive territory.
In line with market expectations, the U.S. central bank announced a further cut in its monthly bond buying program by 10 billion U.S. dollars to 45 billion dollars, referring to growth in U.S. economic activity which has picked up recently after having slowed sharply during the winter partly due to adverse weather conditions.
The statement helped the market shrug off pessimistic sentiment from the release of the worse-than-expected report about U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter before the opening bell.
The real GDP increased at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the first quarter, the slowest pace since the fourth quarter of 2012, according to the "advance" estimate by the Commerce Department.
The deceleration in real GDP growth resulted from slumping exports and private investment, which weighed on solid growth of personal consumption.
Also lifting market confidence was robust jobs report by private payroll processor ADP which said that U.S. private sectors added 220,000 jobs in April, the strongest gain in five months.
On corporate news, micro-blogging site Twitter Inc. and e- commerce platform eBay Inc. released quarterly earnings above market consensus late Tuesday.
However, shares of both firms slumped, with the former slipping 8.56 percent to 38.97 dollars apiece and the latter tumbling 4.97 percent to 51.83 dollars apiece, as the earnings results failed to alleviate investor concerns over the valuation of high-flying tech stocks which had taken a hit under big selling pressure recently.
For the month, the blue-chip Dow and the broader S&P 500 advanced 0.7 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, while the tech- rich Nasdaq shed 2.0 percent.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, dropped 2.19 percent to end at 13.41 Wednesday.
In other markets, oil prices dropped Wednesday as a government report showed that U.S. crude supplies climbed to a record high. Light, sweet crude for June delivery moved down 1.54 dollars to settle at 99.74 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for June delivery lost 91 cents to close at 108.07 dollars a barrel.
Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange logged a three-day losing streak Wednesday, with the most active gold contract for June delivery going down 0.4 dollar to settle at 1,295.9 dollars per ounce.
The U.S. dollar retreated against major currencies Wednesday as the U.S. economy grew at a slower pace in the first quarter. In late New York trading, the euro rose to 1.3872 dollars from 1.3810 dollars of the previous session, and the British pound increased to 1.6887 dollars from 1.6831 dollars.