US STOCKS SNAPSHOT-Wall St ends at record, Fed maintains stimulus

Last Updated: Wed, Sep 18, 2013 20:10 hrs

NEW YORK, Sept 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rallied to record highs on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve surprised investors and decided against trimming its bond-buying stimulus program, which has fueled Wall Street's rally of more than 20 percent this year.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 146.44 points, or 0.94 percent, at 15,676.17, according to the latest data. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 20.67 points, or 1.21 percent, at 1,725.43. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 37.94 points, or 1.01 percent, at 3,783.64.

Most market participants were expecting the central bank to begin a withdrawal of the bond-buying program by about $10 billion a month.

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