Stocks Close Lower After Hawkish Fed Pause

The major indexes finished in the red after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged, but left open the possibility of one more rate hike.

Closeup of the seal for the US Federal Reserve board of governors
(Image credit: Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Stocks were choppy in the lead up to this afternoon's policy announcement from the Federal Reserve. The major indexes failed to lift off after the central bank held interest rates steady, as expected, but signaled they will stay higher for longer. 

Today's anticipated pause by the Fed left the short-term federal funds rate at a range of 5.25% to 5.5% – the highest it has been in 22 years. However, according to the central bank's Summary of Economic Projections (SEP), or the "dot plot," which summarizes what each member expects monetary policy to be going forward, 12 of the 19 members anticipate another quarter-percentage-point rate hike by year's end. 

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Karee Venema
Senior Investing Editor,

With over a decade of experience writing about the stock market, Karee Venema is the senior investing editor at She joined the publication in April 2021 after 10 years of working as an investing writer and columnist at Schaeffer's Investment Research. In her previous role, Karee focused primarily on options trading, as well as technical, fundamental and sentiment analysis.