US STOCKS SNAPSHOT-Wall Street at record as Fed maintains stimulus

NEW YORK, Sept 18 Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:01pm EDT

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NEW YORK, Sept 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rallied to a record high on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve surprised investors by saying it would not begin to cut its bond-buying program that has been a driving force behind Wall Street's climb of more than 20 percent this year.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 172.09 points or 1.11 percent, to 15,701.82, the S&P 500 gained 23.71 points or 1.39 percent, to 1,728.47 and the Nasdaq Composite added 41.207 points or 1.1 percent, to 3,786.906.

After a mostly quiet session leading up the announcement, major indexes jumped more than 1 percent after the central bank said it would continue buying bonds at an $85 billion monthly pace for now.

Market participants had largely been expecting the central bank to begin a withdrawal of the bond-buying program by about $10 billion a month.

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