Investing.com - U.S. stocks finished Friday higher in a session void of major economic indicators, as investors digested the Federal Reserve''s somewhat dovish Wednesday policy statement and traded on sentiments that borrowing costs will remain low for some time to come.
At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow 30 rose 0.15%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.17%, while the NASDAQ Composite index rose 0.20%.
The Volatility S&P 500 index, which measures the outlook for market volatility, was up 0.85% at 10.71.
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday left benchmark interest rates unchanged at 0.00-0.25% and cut its monthly bond-buying program to $35 billion from $45 billion in a widely expected move.
While the Fed did not clear up uncertainty over how much time will elapse from when bond purchases end and rate hikes begin, language suggested that markets should be comfortable knowing borrowing costs will remain low for a while.
"It likely will be appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends, especially if projected inflation continues to run below the Committee''s 2 percent longer-run goal, and provided that longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored," the Fed said in its Wednesday policy statement.
Energy stocks saw gains stemming from the Iraqi insurgency.
Iraqi security forces fought with Sunni militants for control of a 300,000 barrel-per-day refinery on Thursday, which pressured prices higher by stoking supply concerns.
Still, many of the country''s major oilfields remain far south of the fighting, which kept broader stock prices somewhat steady.
U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday that he was sending up to 300 U.S. military advisers to Iraq and added he was prepared to take "targeted" military action later if deemed necessary.
Iraq produced approximately 3.5 million barrels a day of oil last month, making it OPEC’s second-biggest oil producer behind Saudi Arabia.
Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:CAT), up 1.99%, Dupont Fabros Technology Inc (NYSE:DFT), up 1.55%, and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), up 1.43%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average''s worst performers included Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), down 1.13%, The Travelers Companies Inc (NYSE:TRV), down 1.05%, and Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE), down 0.71%.
European indices, meanwhile, ended the day largely lower.
After the close of European trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.24%, France''s CAC 40 fell 0.48%, while Germany''s DAX fell 0.17%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 rose 0.25%.
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