NEW YORK – Stocks fell after the Federal Reserve raised key U.S. interest rates a quarter point for a ninth straight time and gave no sign a year-long campaign of rate increases was nearing an end.
The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average (search) dropped 99.51 points, or 0.96 percent, to end at 10,274.97. The broad Standard & Poor's 500 Index (search) slipped 8.52 points, or 0.71 percent, to finish at 1,191.33. The technology-laced Nasdaq Composite Index (search) lost 11.93 points, or 0.58 percent, to close at 2,056.96.
For the second quarter, the Dow ended down 2.2 percent, the S&P 500 rose 0.9 percent and Nasdaq climbed 2.9 percent.
As expected, the Fed also raised short-term rates for the ninth time in a year, boosting the federal funds rate, a key rate used by banks on overnight loans, by a quarter percentage point to 3.25 percent.
Investors had hoped the Federal Open Market Committee (search) would set a time frame for ending its string of rate hikes. But the committee said it "will respond to changes in economic prospects as needed to fulfill its obligation to maintain price stability" — an indication that its focus remains limiting inflation, and that rate increases are likely.
"We get more of the same," said Jeff Kleintop, chief investment strategist for PNC Advisers. The committee statement "doesn't give any insight into how close the Fed is to being finished with this tightening regime," he said.
Higher interest rates are typically bad for stocks since they increase the cost of borrowing money for consumers and corporations. Investors were hoping for signs from the Fed that the credit-tightening cycle would end soon, but the signs were missing from the Fed statement accompanying its rate decision.
Oil prices, also a major concern on Wall Street, extended their decline from Monday's record highs of more than $60 per barrel. Crude ended trading at $56.50, down 76 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Bonds were higher, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note falling to 3.92 percent from 4 percent late Wednesday. The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices were unchanged.
Shares of industrial companies, which are the benchmarks of the U.S. economy, slid. Heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) fell 1.4 percent, or $1.33, to $95.31 and chemical maker DuPont (DD) dropped 3.6 percent, or $1.62, to $43.01.
On the corporate front, Bank of America Corp. said it agreed to buy MBNA Corp., the biggest independent credit card lender, for $35 billion, making the No. 2 U.S. banking company one of the world's biggest card issuers.
MBNA (KRB) surged 25.3 percent, or $5.34, to $26.41 on news of Bank of America's (BAC) acquisition, worth $27.50 per MBNA share. The deal would put Bank of America in the top ranks of global credit card issuers. Both company boards have agreed to the acquisition, which will result in 6,000 job cuts, but it must receive approval from government regulators and MBNA shareholders.
Bank of America lost 2.8 percent, or $1.30, to $45.61, while MBNA jumped 24.3 percent, or $5.11, to $26.16.
Shares of Dow component Boeing Co. (BA) shot up 7 percent, or $4.33, to $66 after the aircraft maker named 3M Co. (MMM) Chief Executive James McNerney as chairman and CEO, favoring him over candidates inside the aircraft manufacturer's ranks.
Shares of Dow component 3M, where McNerney is widely credited with overseeing a turnaround after he joined the diversified manufacturer in 2001, declined nearly 5 percent, or $3.74, to $72.30.
Decliners outpaced advancers by a ratio of about 9 to 8 on the New York Stock Exchange, and on Nasdaq, by about 8 to 7.
About 1.63 billion shares changed hands on the NYSE, above the 1.46 billion daily average for last year, while on Nasdaq, about 1.73 billion shares were traded -- below the 1.81 billion daily average last year.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 3.10, or 0.48 percent, to 639.66.
Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average rose 0.06 percent. In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 closed up 0.08 percent, France's CAC-40 fell 0.06 percent for the session, and Germany's DAX index gained 0.06 percent in late trading.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.