NEW YORK – Signs that the Federal Reserve would keep interest rates low for several more months pushed stocks broadly higher on Thursday, adding to what has been a near eight-day rally. Energy stocks advanced with the price of oil.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 138.46 points, or 0.8 percent, to 17,050.75. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 17.60 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,013.43 and Nasdaq composite rose 19.64 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,810.79.
The S&P 500 has risen seven out of the past eight sessions and is now above 2,000, a psychological milestone, for the first time since mid-August.
Stocks spent most of the morning little changed, but moved steadily higher after investors had a chance to work through the minutes from the Fed's September policy meeting.
In the minutes, Fed officials expressed confidence that the U.S. economy was improving, citing the improving job market. But policymakers had concerns that inflation continues to remain abnormally low, noting the recent drop in commodity prices, which were a major reason why the Fed did not raise interest rates.
The Fed has kept interest rates near zero for nearly seven years now. The Fed has repeatedly signaled it wants to raise interest rates, but it has held off on doing so.
Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist for Brown Brothers Harriman's wealth management business, said investors no longer expect rates to go up this year, even though Chairwoman Janet Yellen has said that's likely to happen. He added that the central bank is "beginning to falter" in communicating to investors what its plans are.
"The market has begun to conclude that they're the boy who cried wolf" where raising interest rates are concerned, Clemons said.