Stocks hold gains after Fed votes to keep interest rates low


NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks were holding onto their gains Wednesday afternoon after the Federal Reserve announced it would keep interest rates low. The market is bouncing back after a four-day losing streak.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 39 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,716 as of 2:15 p.m., roughly 15 minutes after the Fed decision was announced. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose five points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,080 and the Nasdaq composite rose 10 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,854.

ON HOLD: As expected, the Federal Reserve’s policymakers voted to keep interest rates unchanged at their current level of 0.25 percent to 0.50 percent. In their statement, the Fed said that while U.S. economic activity continues to strengthen “the pace of improvement in the labor market has slowed,” a reference to the April and May job reports that were weaker than anticipated.

Stocks rose after the Fed decision was announced, and bond prices rose as well as low interest rates means investors can handle lower bond yields.

BRITISH DRAMA: Most investors are focused on the other side of the Atlantic at the moment. There is grave uncertainty about whether British voters will choose to leave the European Union in a June 23 referendum. Polls show the vote could go either way and investors are starting to worry about the consequences.

A British exit from the EU, known informally as Brexit, would likely hurt the British economy most and destabilize the rest of Europe. The repercussions, however, are not clear and investors are reacting to the general uncertainty over the situation.

SHINY: The price of copper rose almost 3 percent. Gold and copper producer Freeport-McMoRan jumped 99 cents, or 10 percent, to $11.20. Aluminum producer Alcoa rose 45 cents, or 5 percent, to $9.54 and gold miner Newmont Mining added $1.16, or 3 percent, to $36.34.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 49 cents to $48.04 a barrel in New York. It’s fallen more than 5 percent over the last four days. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 73 cents to $49.11 a barrel in London.

WHOLE FOODS SLIDES: Whole Foods Market fell $1.55, or 5 percent, to $30.97 after the Food and Drug Administration said there were “serious violations” at a kitchen in Massachusetts that may have resulted in contaminated food and the grocery chain hasn’t done enough to fix them so far.

BONDS, CURRENCIES: Bond prices continued to rise after the Fed meeting and ahead of the Brexit vote. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell to 1.58 percent from 1.61 percent a day earlier. The dollar fell to 105.84 yen from 105.97 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1245 from $1.1205.