Wall St mixed on Fed statement

US markets close mixed despite Fed reaffirming stimulus spending program.

United States stocks closed mixed despite positive investor reaction to a statement by the US Federal Reserve that the central bank would maintain its $US85 billion-per-month stimulus spending program.

The central bank's reaffirmation of the bond-buying program was not unexpected, but the statement following a two-day policy meeting offered investors a lift.

The Fed said it still needs to see improved US economic growth and employment figures before it is convinced the US economy can extend its recovery without the Fed stimulus.

Soon after the release of the Fed policy statement, US stocks were building strong gains. However, markets pulled back in the final hour of trading, putting stocks back in mixed territory.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 21.05 points, or 0.14%, to 15,499.54 points.

The S&P 500 index closed flat, down 0.23 points, or 0.01%, to 1,685.73 points.

The Nasdaq Composite climbed 9.90 points, or 0.27%, to close at 3,626.37 points.

At various times during the session, the Dow and S&P flirted with new records.

Soon after the release of the Fed minutes, the S&P traded above its all-time closing high and near the 1,700-point milestone, before pulling back.

The Dow had earlier in the session hit a fresh all-time intraday high of 15,634 points.

Investors were also digesting fresh data on US economic growth.

Second-quarter US GDP grew 1.7%, above the 1.1% expected by analysts. However, the report also included a steep downgrade in first-quarter GDP growth, which is now estimated at 1.1% from 1.8% before.

Analysts were also disappointed by the pace of growth, suggesting that higher growth figures should be expected given the extent of stimulus being injected into the economy.

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