U.S. stocks rose and Treasury yields fell after Federal Reserve officials suggested interest rates could rise less this year than they previously expected.
The Fed held interest rates steady Wednesday as expected, helping push the Dow industrials to their highest close of the year. Officials now expect the federal-funds rate to rise to 0.875% by year end, implying two interest-rate increases, a sign that global economic uncertainty has made Fed officials more cautious about the path of U.S. monetary policy.
The move now means that the Fed’s expectations and investors’ expectations for interest rates are more closely aligned.
At their December meeting, Fed officials suggested there would be four rate increases this year. A recent Wall Street Journal survey found economists expected just two increases.
“The Fed and the market being on the same page is somewhat of a relief,” said John Canally, chief economic strategist for LPL Financial. “It removes one of the tangles we’ve had this year.”
The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 1.940% from 1.995% before the Fed statement, compared with 1.961% on Tuesday. The policy-sensitive two-year yield dropped to 0.873% from 0.989% beforehand, compared with 0.968% on Tuesday.