* Fed cuts 2014 growth forecast, still confident about
* Amazon CEO Bezos unveils "Fire" smartphone; stock climbs
* FedEx shares hit all-time high after quarterly profit
* Dow up 0.4 pct; S&P 500 up 0.5 pct; Nasdaq up 0.3 pct
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, June 18 U.S. stocks rose, with the S&P
500 on track to close at a new record, after the Federal Reserve
hinted at a slightly faster pace of interest rate increases
starting next year but suggested rates in the long-run would be
lower than it had indicated previously.
After a two-day policy meeting, the Fed cut the 2014
economic growth forecast to a range of between 2.1 percent and
2.3 percent from around 2.9 percent.
The Fed also cut its monthly bond purchases to $35 billion a
month, a reduction of $10 billion, as widely expected, in
connection with its plans to wind down one of its main stimulus
programs by the end of the year.
"The decision confirms that a steady-as-she-goes Federal
Reserve will complete its quantitative easing exit later this
year, but still have to rely more on forward policy guidance due
to remaining growth and jobs challenges," said Mohamed El-Erian,
chief economic adviser at Allianz SE in Newport Beach,
"Remaining growth and jobs challenges involve achieving
economic lift-off that materially reduces long-term
unemployment," El-Erian added.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 60.05 points or
0.36 percent, to 16,868.54, the S&P 500 gained 9.8 points
or 0.5 percent, to 1,951.79 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 14.32 points or 0.33 percent, to 4,351.55.
The benchmark S&P 500 was already above its record close of
1,951.27 set on June 9. The index is now up 0.8 percent for the
week as investors largely shrugged off mounting tensions in Iraq
and focused on a flurry of merger and acquisition activity and
better-than-anticipated manufacturing data.
Among the biggest gainers was FedEx Corp, which rose
5.9 percent to $148.52 after hitting an all-time intraday high
of $148.58. The world's No. 2 package delivery company reported
better-than-expected quarterly revenue. Its gains helped push
the Dow Jones Transportation average up 1.3 percent.
Amazon.com Inc shares jumped 2.9 percent to $334.93
after Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos unveiled a "Fire"
smartphone with free, unlimited photo storage, jumping into a
crowded field dominated by Apple Inc and Samsung
Adobe Systems shares shot up 8.1 percent to $73.03.
Adobe was the S&P 500's best performer a day after the maker of
Photoshop and Acrobat software reported better-than-expected
quarterly profit and revenue.
But the stock of ConAgra Foods slid 7.3 percent to
$30.44 after the maker of Hunt's tomato ketchup and Slim Jim
beef jerky warned about fourth-quarter results.
(Reporting by Angela Moon; Additional reporting by Jennifer
Ablan; Editing by Jan Paschal and Nick Zieminski)