U.S. stocks finished higher Wednesday, after the Federal Reserve (Fed) said it plans to keep interest rates near historic lows through late 2014.
In world markets, European stocks ended mixed, as the FTSE 100 fell 0.5 percent and the DAX in Germany rose slightly. Markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai were closed for the Chinese New Year, while Japan's Nikkei ended 1 percent higher.
The U.S. Fed, which issued a statement at the end of a two-day policy meeting midday Wednesday, had previously said it would hold rates low through the middle of 2013.
In U.S. economic news, pending home sales for the month of December dropped by 3.5 percent, after rising 7.3 percent in the previous month. Economists were expecting sales to fall 3 percent.
In U.S. company news, Boeing announced that its fourth quarter profit was better than Wall Street forecasts predicted due to stronger commercial airplane deliveries. The world's largest aerospace and defense company reported a fourth quarter profit of $1.4 billion, up from $1.2 billion a year earlier. Its revenue rose to $19.6 billion from $16.6 billion.
Meanwhile, Apple said sales for the quarter hit $43.6 billion, sending shares up 6.2 percent. The gains helped the iPhone and iPad maker surpass Exxon Mobil as the most valuable U.S. company.
The U.S. dollar rose against the euro and rose against the yen. Light sweet crude oil for March delivery rose 45 cents to $99.40 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold futures rose $35.60 to $1,700.10 an ounce.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 83.1, or 0.7 percent, to 12,758.85. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 11.41, or 0.9 percent, to 1,326.06. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index rose 31.67, or 1.1 percent, to 2,818.31.