Wed, 29 Sep 2021

NEW YORK, July 28 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks finished mixed on Wednesday as investors sifted through the Federal Reserve's latest statement, while digesting earnings reports from big tech names.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 127.59 points, or 0.36 percent, to 34,930.93. The S&P 500 was down 0.82 point, or 0.02 percent, to 4,400.64. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 102.01 points, or 0.70 percent, to 14,762.58.

Seven of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended in red, with consumer staples down 0.87 percent, leading the laggards. Energy climbed 0.97 percent, outpacing the rest.

On the earnings side, shares of Google-parent Alphabet gained after its better-than-expected earnings report.

Apple also reported strong quarterly earnings on Tuesday. Yet, its executives warned that chip supply constraints could impact iPhones and iPads this quarter. The stock came under pressure on Wednesday.

Microsoft shares struggled even after the software and hardware company delivered fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that exceeded expectations.

U.S.-listed Chinese companies traded higher with all the top 10 stocks by weight in the S&P U.S. Listed China 50 index ending the day on an upbeat note.

The U.S. central bank on Wednesday kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at the record-low level of near zero amid growing concerns over surging inflation and the rapid spread of the Delta variant.

"The path of the economy continues to depend on the course of the virus. Progress on vaccinations will likely continue to reduce the effects of the public health crisis on the economy, but risks to the economic outlook remain," the Fed said in a statement after concluding a two-day meeting.

At a virtual press conference Wednesday afternoon, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that "we have some ground to cover on the labor market side."

The Fed chief also said that U.S. inflation will "remain elevated" in the coming months before moderating to normal levels due to supply bottlenecks.

"Fed policy remains unchanged, as expected," Will Compernolle and Sophia Kearney-Lederman, senior economists at FHN Financial, said in a note.

"The FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) statement acknowledges the economy has made progress towards the goals needed to modify its asset purchases, but gives no clarity on what that timeline will look like," they said, adding investors may have to wait until the Fed's Jackson Hole economic symposium or more likely the September FOMC meeting for more answers.

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