Stocks rose on Wednesday, with the Dow setting a record high, after the Federal Reserve stuck to its script, saying it was nearing the end of its asset purchases and reiterating it would not hike interest rates for a 'considerable' period. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed unofficially 24 points higher, at 17,156.85, eclipsing its July 16 finish of 17,138.20. The S&P 500 added 2 points and the Nasdaq rose 9 points. "Basically not much change in Fed policy; they'll only move when they are very comfortable that conditions have improved significantly. The overall path for policy that they've been on continues to be a path they are comfortable with," said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones. In its statement after its two-day meeting, the Fed left largely intact key provisions and cut its bond buying down to $15 billion a month, while indicating the asset purchases would end altogether in October. Later, Fed chief Janet Yellen reiterated that there continued to be "significant under-utilization" in the labor force, with inflation running below the Fed's objectives.
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- Kate Gibson, CNBC.com