After Market: Steady Course from the Fed Steers Stocks Higher

A business-as-usual report from the Fed pushed the S&P 500 to a record high Wednesday, while Amazon was in focus as it unveiled its new smartphone.

The central bank said it would trim its bond buying program by another $10 billion a month -- as it has after each of its FOMC meetings this year -- and it lowered its U.S. growth outlook for 2014. Unmentioned in the report -- anything about raising interest rates.

Overall, market reaction to the news was positive. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) closed 98 points higher, the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 25 points and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) ended the day up 15 points at a record high of 1,956.

All eyes were on Amazon (AMZN) as it unveiled its first smart phone -- called the Fire Phone -- which is larger than the iPhone, but smaller than the most popular Android model. Amazon stock rallied 2.5 percent. Google (GOOG), which will likely be providing the operating system for Amazon's phone, gained 2 percent. And competitor Apple (AAPL) was up slightly as well.

Blackberry (BBRY) got a boost, rising 3 percent after confirming it has a deal with Amazon to gain access to the Amazon app store for its mobile devices. It's coming out with earnings on Thursday.

Speaking of earnings, Adobe (ADBE) was a big winner after its quarterly report came out, rallying 8 percent. Its transition away from packaged software to cloud based services that depend on subscriptions is going well. Subscription revenue grew 88 percent in the last quarter. Since the beginning of this year, the stock is up 22 percent.

%VIRTUAL-WSSCourseInline-876%Fedex (FDX) also impressed on earnings with its stock rising 6 percent. Revenue and volume increased. That's a positive indicator for the global economy. If Fedex is shipping more goods, that's a clear sign of rising business activity. Rival UPS (UPS) also gained 1 percent on the day.

Food giant Con Agra (CAG) announced it was cutting its earnings guidance thanks to weak demand for its consumer food brands, most notably its Chef Boyardee canned pastas. The stock soured falling 7 percent. Year to date, it's down almost 10 percent.

In the retail sector, Gap (GPS) gained more than 1 percent on an upgrade but Coach (COH) lost 4 percent on a downgrade from Sterne Agee.

And finally, Exxon Mobil (XOM) and BP (BP) announced they were evacuating some of their staff from Iraq amid rising instability there. BP's stock rose 2 percent while Exxon Mobil's was up less than half a percent.

What to Watch Thursday:

  • The Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.

  • At 10 a.m., Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates, and the Conference Board releases leading indicators for May.

These major companies are due to release quarterly financial statements:

-Produced by Karina Huber.