- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 25, 2009

NEW YORK | The Federal Reserve didn’t surprise investors but still left them disappointed.

Stocks ended mixed but mostly higher after the Fed said the economy was on the mend. However, bond prices fell after the Fed said it wouldn’t step up its spending to purchase Treasuries and other debt to pry interest rates lower.

The central bank’s decision Wednesday to leave its key lending rate at a low of zero to 0.25 percent wasn’t a surprise, but some investors have been hoping the central bank would do more to revive the economy. Others wanted it to more clearly lay out how it will keep inflation in check.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 23.05, or 0.3 percent, to 8,299.86. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 5.84, or 0.7 percent, to 900.94, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 27.42, or 1.6 percent, to 1,792.34.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 3.69 percent from 3.63 percent Tuesday.

Stocks had been sharply higher early in the day after a surprise jump in orders for big-ticket manufactured items. The Commerce Department said durable goods orders rose 1.8 percent in May. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had anticipated a drop.

The Commerce Department later said sales of new homes fell 0.6 percent last month, while the market had expected a rise.

In corporate news, software maker Oracle Corp.’s results late Tuesday for its most recent quarter exceeded analysts’ average forecast. Oracle shares gained $1.39, or 7 percent, to $21.26, helping the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

Bond prices had been higher after a successful Treasury Department auction of $37 billion in five-year notes. Demand was stronger than at recent auctions.

In other trading, crude oil fell 57 cents to settle at $68.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 5.18, or 1.1 percent, to 494.95.

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