Stocks gain on Fed plan to continue stimulus

Timothy Nick, center, works with fellow traders on

Timothy Nick, center, works with fellow traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday. (March 19, 2013) (Credit: AP)

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Fear of a revived debt crisis in Europe faded from the stock market Wednesday, freeing the Dow Jones industrial average to touch an all-time high.

After dipping Monday on concerns that Cyprus would become the latest European nation to stir fiscal chaos, the Dow posted its second straight day of gains.

Stocks traded steadily higher for most of the day and spiked after the Federal Reserve said it will continue with aggressive measures to boost the economy. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Cyprus crisis posed no major risk to the U.S. economy.

The Dow was up 44 points shortly before the Fed announcement. By midafternoon, after the Fed released its policy statement, the Dow touched an all-time high of 14,546.

The Dow closed up 55.91 to 14,511.73.

In other trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.67 percent to 1,558.71. The S&P 500 is just six points below its all-time high of 1,565, reached in October 2007. The Nasdaq composite index rose 0.78 percent to 3,254.19.

The Fed plans to continue buying bonds to keep long-term borrowing costs down and also said it would keep short-term interest rates at record lows, at least until unemployment, currently at 7.7 percent falls to 6.5 percent.

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