U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday (October 30), with the S&P 500 snapping a four-day streak of gains after the Federal Reserve said it had a weaker growth outlook for the economy, even as it held steady with its stimulus program for the time being.
Trading was volatile following the release of the statement, with the major U.S. stock indexes cutting losses to turn flat and dropping to session lows. Almost 70 percent of stocks on both the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq declined, while all 10 S&P 500 sector indexes fell.
While it had been widely expected that the U.S. central bank wouldn't announce any adjustments to its bond-buying program, the statement wasn't enough to extend a rally that has driven both the Dow and the S&P 500 to repeated record highs.
While the Fed's stimulus has kept a floor under stock prices this year, there have been signs that growth is slowing, including weak economic data and an earnings season marked by tepid revenue growth.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 61.59 points to end at 15,618.76. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 8.64 points to finish at 1,763.31. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 21.72 points to close at 3,930.62.
Many analysts expect the Fed to delay until at least March in easing the stimulus measures that have encouraged investors to buy riskier assets, like stocks, contributing to the S&P 500's gain of more than 20 percent this year.
The central bank has held interest rates near zero since late 2008 and quadrupled the size of its balance sheet to more than $3.7 trillion (USD) through three rounds of bond buying.