Wall Street ended an uneasy session mostly lower and bond prices tumbled Wednesday after the Federal Reserve suggested it might not be through raising interest rates if they're needed to fight inflation caused by soaring energy and commodities prices.
The Fed's decision to boost a key short-term lending rate to 5 percent was widely anticipated. But investors were rattled by the central bank's accompanying statement, which said more policy firming - or rate hikes - could be necessary to contain inflation. The Fed indicated it would be closely watching economic data to determine its next step.
According to preliminary calculations, the Dow rose 2.88, or 0.02 percent, to 11,646.65. The Dow was 80 points from its best-ever close of 11,722.98, reached Jan. 14, 2000. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 2.29, or 0.17 percent, to 2,320.74, and the Nasdaq composite index sank 17.51, or 0.75 percent, to 2,320.74.
IRIS International Inc., which reported earnings Tuesday, soared 22.7 percent to $13.43. First Consulting Group Inc., which reported earnings Tuesday, jumpted 10.4 percent to $8.39. Unico American Corp, which reported earnings Wednesday, rose 2 percent to $10.74. Cogent Inc., which was raised to "outperform'' from "market perform'' at Morgan Keegan, rose 2 percent to $15.90. The Disney Co., which reported earnings Tuesday, was up 2 percent to $30.11.
WPT Enterprises Inc. fell 6.8 percent to $5.34. Learning Tree International Inc., which reported earnings Tuesday, dropped 6 percent to $9.89. Thomas Properties Group Inc., which reported earnings Tuesday, lost 4 percent to $12.41. Crown Media Holdings Inc., whose chief executive officer resigned Wednesday, fell 3.5 percent to $3.81. Reading International Inc., which reported earnings Wednesday, was down 1 percent to $7.99.
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