Investing.com - The Dow ended lower as it struggled to hold gains after the Fed's unchanged rate decision and strong signal not to expect many interest-rate hikes for a while.
Stocks were also held back by trade concerns and a slump in financials.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 0.55%, the S&P 500 lost 0.29%, while the Nasdaq Composite eked out a gain of 0.07%. The Dow jumped 137 points in six minutes after the Fed announcement, even briefly moving into the black on the day. But the gains were soon pared back.
The Federal Reserve unexpectedly cut its outlook on rate hikes, signaling no further tightening would be appropriate for the current year amid a slowdown in economic growth.
"In light of global economic and financial developments and muted inflation pressures, the Committee will be patient as it determines what future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate may be appropriate to support these outcomes," the Fed said in a statement.
As rate hikes appear to be nearing their end, the Fed also said it will begin in May to reduce the amount of proceeds -- received from securities on its balance sheet -- it allows to roll off each month and will halt the program in September.
The Fed has been allowing as much as $50 billion a month of maturing securities to roll off its balance sheet, which peaked at roughly $4.5 trillion in Jan. 2015, but has now narrowed to about $4 trillion.
"The FOMC more than reinforced market expectations of an extended pause, if not possible end, to the tightening cycle," BMO said in a note.
The Fed's dovish monetary policy sent government bond yields tumbling, pressuring financials, mostly banks. Falling government bond yields stifle banks' ability to generate net interest.
Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) ended the day nursing steep losses.
The rate-sensitive United States 2-Year yield fell nearly 3%.
The Fed's policy decision arrived on the heels of a gloomy update from President Donald Trump on trade.
"We're not talking about removing (tariffs), we're talking about leaving them for a substantial period of time because we have to make sure that if we do the deal with China that China lives by the deal," Trump told reporters.
The U.S. has slapped tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, about half the value of U.S. imports from the country. China has retaliated with tariffs on $110 billion worth of American exports.
In tech, FANG stocks rallied, led by a surge in Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), up 4.6%.
On the corporate earnings front, there was little to cheer as FedEx (NYSE:FDX) fell 3.5% after the global air-freight delivery company reported tepid guidance.
In post-market earnings news, Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) fell modestly after reporting mixed quarterly results with a beat on the bottom line but a miss on the top line. In the run-up to the chipmaker's quarterly earnings, some were concerned falling memory demand would materially weigh on performance.
Micron is up about 27% year to date and has played a big role in helping the broader semiconductor sector rack up gains of more than 20% so far this year.
Top S&P 500 Gainers and Losers Today:
Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD) and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) were among the top S&P 500 gainers for the session.
Viacom B (NASDAQ:VIAB), KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY) and Brighthouse Financial (NASDAQ:BHF) were among the worst S&P 500 performers of the session.