US stocks dip as Fed ends stimulus programme

Wall Street stocks finished lower Wednesday after the US Federal Reserve ended its quantitative easing stimulus programme, but said it would continue to keep its benchmark interest rate low. -- PHOTO: AFP
Wall Street stocks finished lower Wednesday after the US Federal Reserve ended its quantitative easing stimulus programme, but said it would continue to keep its benchmark interest rate low. -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks finished lower Wednesday after the US Federal Reserve ended its quantitative easing stimulus programme, but said it would continue to keep its benchmark interest rate low.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 16,974.08, down 31.67 points (0.19 per cent).

The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 2.85 (0.14 per cent) to 1,982.20, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 15.07 (0.33 per cent) to 4,549.26.

The Fed, as expected, declared the end of six years of asset purchases to shore up economic growth.

The Fed also said it would not raise interest rates for "a considerable time" after the end of the QE programme, sticking to its timetable of an increase well into 2015.

The Fed's policy statement cited improving labour market conditions and expressed little concern about low inflation, elements that led some analysts to characterise it as more hawkish than expected.

"The Fed is positioning itself, but it hasn't take the decision" to raise rates, said Gregori Volokhine, president of Meeschaert Capital Markets.

"It's action still depends on how the economy performs."