Stocks Ended Mixed as Fed Kept Rates Unchanged

U.S. stocks ended mixed on Wednesday, after the Federal Reserve left rates on hold and signaled it wasn’t prepared to make any near-term policy changes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 11.60 points, or 0.04%, to 28,734.45. The S&P 500 fell 2.84 points, or 0.09%, to 3,273.40. The Nasdaq Composite gained 5.48 points, or 0.06%, to 9,275.16.

Oil futures saw mixed trading on Wednesday, with U.S. prices down after government data revealed that domestic crude inventories posted a bigger-than-expected weekly climb—their largest since November. West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery fell 15 cents, or 0.3%, to settle at $53.33 a barrel, while March Brent crude tacked on 30 cents, or 0.5%, to end at $59.81 a barrel.

The Federal Reserve held rates steady in its first policy-setting meeting of 2020, changing little in its economic outlook as the U.S. economy continues to extend its longest expansion on record. The Federal Open Market Committee announced Wednesday that it decided to keep rates in the current target range of 1.50% to 1.75%.

Microsoft (MSFT) reported fiscal second-quarter net income of $11.65 billion, or $1.51 a share, on sales of $36.9 billion, up from earnings of $1.08 a share on revenue of $32.47 billion a year ago.

Facebook Inc. reported fourth-quarter results that topped estimates. It earned $7.35 billion, or $2.56 a share, vs. expectations of $2.53 a share, according to analysts polled by FactSet. Revenue rose 25% to $21.08 billion, vs. estimates of $20.9 billion.

PayPal Holdings Inc. delivered better-than-expected results for the fourth-quarter on Wednesday. It posted net income of $507 million, or 43 cents a share, down from $584 million, or 49 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter.

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