Stocks ended a wobbly day with mixed results Wednesday after the Federal Reserve pledged to keep buying bonds until the economy makes substantial progress from its virus-wracked state, per the AP. The S&P 500 eked out a gain of 0.2%, even though most stocks in the index fell. The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed at another all-time high, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell slightly. In the bond market, Treasury yields initially climbed following the Fed's afternoon announcement, but they quickly receded. The yield on the 10-year Treasury was holding steady at 0.91% after climbing to 0.94% shortly after the Fed's announcement. Bitcoin, the world's largest cryptocurrency, topped $20,000 for the first time. The Dow fell 44.77 points, or 0.15%, to 30,154.54. The S&P 500 rose 6.55 points to 3,701.17, and the Nasdaq closed at 12,658.17, up 63.13 points, or 0.50%.
The Fed is keeping the accelerator floored on its support for the economy, but investors are more interested in what’s happening across Washington. They want to see Congress reach a deal to deliver another dose of financial support for the economy. Democrats and Republicans are nearing an agreement. A deep partisan divide has stymied such a deal for months, but a rush of recent momentum has hopes rising that a compromise could be sealed soon on Capitol Hill to send direct payments of perhaps $600 to most Americans, among other things. The stakes are rising by the day for Congress to act. A report released Wednesday morning showed that retail sales sank 1.1% last month. It's the second straight month of weakness, a much worse showing than the 0.3% decline that economists expected. (Read more stock market stories.)