* Fed reduces asset purchases, upgrades economy assessment
* GDP shows stronger economic growth than expected in Q2
* Dow down 0.3 pct, S&P down 0.1 pct, Nasdaq up 0.3 pct
(Updates to late afternoon)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, July 30 The S&P 500 was near flat on
Wednesday after the Federal Reserve gave a rosier assessment of
the U.S. economy while reaffirming that it is in no hurry to
raise interest rates.
The central bank also, as expected, reduced its monthly
asset purchases to $25 billion from $35 billion.
Among the biggest positives were financial shares, with the
S&P financial index up 0.4 percent, helping to support
the S&P 500. Shares of Wells Fargo gained 1.1 percent to
"We got the taper as expected, and the real viewpoint of the
committee is they can keep monetary policy accommodative even
after we reach our inflation and employment goals," said Art
Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 43.57 points,
or 0.26 percent, to 16,868.54, the S&P 500 lost 1.69
points, or 0.09 percent, to 1,968.26, and the Nasdaq Composite
added 14.38 points or 0.32 percent, to 4,457.08.
The Dow and S&P 500 both briefly traded higher following the
Earlier Wednesday, government data showed gross domestic
product grew at a 4 percent annualized rate in the second
quarter, above the 3 percent rate that had been expected and a
sharp reversal from the weather-impacted first quarter, when the
economy contracted a revised 2.1 percent.
Separately, the ADP National Employment Report showed
companies hired 218,000 workers in July, below analysts'
projections of 230,000 and less than June's total.
Biotechnology stocks boosted the Nasdaq for a second
straight day. The Nasdaq biotech index was up 1 percent
after Amgen Inc posted better-than-expected earnings
and raised its outlook, sending shares up 5.7 percent to
Among other big gainers, Twitter Inc surged 21.5
percent to $48.88, its biggest ever one-day advance, after
reporting that monthly active users rose a better-than-expected
24 percent in the second quarter.
(Editing by Leslie Adler)