Fed chair Ben Bernanke added fuel to Wednesday's stock rally during his press conference.
Bernanke laid out plans to maintain the central bank's "highly accommodative monetary policy" for the foreseeable future, even if the Fed eventually chooses to taper.
Bond yields, which have been rising lately, slid back as well as investors bought more bonds. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.71% from 2.87% earlier in the day.
The improving economy and falling unemployment rate was expected to be enough of a catalyst for the Fed to ease its so-called quantitative easing. The Fed has been buying $85 billion in Treasury bonds and other securities a month.
Stocks and currencies in emerging markets such as India and Brazil have taken a big hit over the past few months on fears over potential cutbacks to the Fed's bond buying.
D.A. Davidson chief investment strategist Fred Dickson expects that emerging market currencies could rebound in the next few weeks now that the Fed has put the tapering on hold.
What housing starts? Investors received one disappointing reading on the health of the economy before the Fed meeting though. The Census Bureau's monthly reports on housing starts and building permits came in below expectations.
But corporate news was better. FedEx (Fortune 500) reported an increase in quarterly sales and net income, compared to a year-ago. Earnings topped forecasts and shares rose on the news. ,
FedEx gives a blah reading on the economy: Despite a relatively rosy quarter, FedEx, which is often viewed as an economic bellwether because of its global footprint, gave investors an iffy assessment on the economy.
While the stock popped on earnings, some traders were wary of FedEx's longer-term trajectory.
Soccer club Manchester United ( reported a jump in quarterly revenue, compared to the prior year, and a surge in net profit, compared to a loss last year. Its stock closed up more than 2%. )
Adobe Systems ( shares hit all-time highs after the software maker reported strong subscription growth for its "Creative Cloud" service on Tuesday. )
Priceline hits 4 digits: The online travel company's stock surged after the Fed announcement and briefly topped $1000. Priceline ( closed at $995.09. It's only a psychological milestone. But some investors thought that )Apple (Fortune 500) (before it began its big pullback late last year) or , Google (Fortune 500) would win the race to $1,000 a share. Priceline is the first stock in the S&P 500 to ever top $1,000. ,
|Light bulb ban set to take effect|
|Ford set for most aggressive expansion in 50 years|
|Netflix finds plenty of binge watching, but little guilt|
|Military families worry about skyrocketing grocery bill|
|Military retirees: You betrayed us, Congress|
|Overnight Avg Rate||Latest||Change||Last Week|
|30 yr fixed||4.48%||4.52%|
|15 yr fixed||3.50%||3.54%|
|30 yr refi||4.48%||4.51%|
|15 yr refi||3.49%||3.53%|
Today's featured rates: