* Fed raises rates as job gains, inflation stoke confidence
* Twitter falls after prominent accounts hacked
* Dow up 0.54 pct, S&P 500 up 0.84 pct, Nasdaq up 0.74 pct
(Updates to close)
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, March 15 U.S. stocks rose sharply on
Wednesday after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for
the second time in three months, as expected.
The Fed, which raised its target rate by 25 basis points, or
a quarter of a percentage point, to between 0.75 and 1.00
percent, did not however flag any plan to accelerate the pace of
monetary tightening, a concern that had lingered among some
Markets were expecting the Fed's decision and traders had
priced in more than a 90 percent chance of a quarter-point rate
increase, according to federal funds futures.
"People were thinking the Fed might be more aggressive, so
the fact that they weren't means more complacency and a
continued course," said Eric Schoenstein, co-portfolio manager
of the Jensen Quality Growth Fund in Portland, Oregon.
"The statement was not as hawkish as it might have been."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 112.73 points,
or 0.54 percent, to close at 20,950.1, the S&P 500 gained
19.81 points, or 0.84 percent, to 2,385.26 and the Nasdaq
Composite added 43.23 points, or 0.74 percent, to
The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks rose 1.5
percent, while financials on the S&P 500 were the
U.S. retail sales recorded their smallest gain in six months
in February, setting U.S. gross domestic product on track to
grow at a 0.8 percent annualized pace in the first quarter,
according to the Atlanta Fed's latest forecast.
Energy stocks boosted the S&P 500 as oil prices rose for the
first time in more than a week on a surprise drawdown in U.S.
crude inventories. U.S. crude gained 2.7 percent to
$49.01 per barrel and Brent added 2.1 percent to $51.99.
Exxon shares rose 1.2 percent and Chevron
added 1.4 percent.
Apple was up 1.1 percent at $140.46 after RBC
raised its price target on the stock.
Twitter was down 1.9 percent at $15.03 after a
number of prominent accounts on the microblogging website were
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a
6.84-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.28-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 74 new 52-week highs and two new lows;
the Nasdaq Composite recorded 125 new highs and 42 new lows.
About 7.82 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges,
higher than the 6.98 billion daily average over the last 20
(Additional reporting by Sam Forgione and Sinead Carew; Editing
by Nick Zieminski and James Dalgleish)