NEW YORK, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks surged Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor's 500-stock Index soaring to uncharted territories, as the U.S. Federal Reserve unexpectedly kept its bond buying programs in place after a two-day policy meeting.
The Dow rallied 147.21 points, or 0.95 percent, to 15,676.94 points. The S&P 500 leapt 20.76 points, or 1.22 percent, to 1,725. 52 points. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 37.94 points, or 1.01 percent, to 3,783.64 points.
The U.S. central bank surprised Wall Street by maintaining the current assets purchase programs at the monthly pace of 85 billion U.S. dollars. Economists expected the Fed to announce a small tapering of its monetary stimulus at the meeting, which ended Wednesday. The Fed also downgraded its projections for the U.S. economy.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a press conference shortly after the policy meeting that U.S. jobless rate remains above acceptable levels and tightening of financial conditions in recent months, if sustained, could slow economy and labor market growth.
It was a very good news in short term for the market since stocks dipped in August mainly due to the Fed tapering concerns, Gregory J. Keating, managing director of New York-based James E. Coffey Securities Inc, told Xinhua Wednesday
On the economic front, privately-owned housing starts in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 891,000, up 0.9 percent from the revised July figure of 883,000, the Commerce Department said. Meanwhile, housing permits in August dropped 3.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 918,000. Both of the two readings missed market consensus.
U.S. mortgage applications for the week ending Sept. 13 increased 11.2 percent, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, rebounding from a drop of 13.5 percent in the previous week.
On other markets, the U.S. dollar slumped against major currencies Wednesday. In late New York trading, the euro soared to 1.3506 dollars from 1.3357 dollars of the previous session, The dollar bought 97.96 Japanese yen, lower than 99.13 yen of the previous session.
Crude prices climbed on Fed's "no taper" decision. Oil prices were also underpinned as U.S. crude inventories decreased last week.
Energy Information Administration said Wednesday crude supplies shrank 4.37 million barrels to 355.6 million barrels for the week ending Sept 13. Market expectation was a drop of 1.2 million barrels. Refineries operated at 92.5 percent of capacity, same as the prior week.
Light, sweet crude for October delivery moved up 2.65 dollars to settle at 108.07 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for November delivery increased 2.41 dollars to close at 110.6 dollars a barrel.
Gold futures on Wednesday ended lower despite of rises in electronic trading after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would not scale back its monetary stimulus for now.
Leading up to the Fed's announcement, gold hovered around 1,300 U.S. dollars an ounce, trading at a six-week low. It changed after the Fed said it would delay a scaling back of its asset purchases and gold jumped nearly 3 percent above its settlement to 1,345.4 dollars an ounce in electronic trading.