NEW YORK, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Wall Street's major averages finished mixed on Thursday, with tech-related stocks rallying, while the energy sector lagged.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 39.02 points, or 0.11 percent, to 34,053.94. The S&P 500 added 60.55 points, or 1.47 percent, to 4,179.76. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 384.50 points, or 3.25 percent, to 12,200.82.
Seven of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended in green, with communication services and consumer discretionary up 6.74 percent and 3.08 percent, respectively, outpacing the rest. Technology advanced 2.78 percent, also among the best performing groups. Energy, however, dipped 2.52 percent, leading the decliners.
Shares of Meta Platforms popped more than 23 percent as a slew of analysts upgraded the stock after the social media giant reported fourth-quarter revenue that beat estimates.
Shares of megacap stocks Apple, Amazon and Google-parent Alphabet also gained strongly ahead of their results due after market close.
Investors also continued digesting the Federal Reserve's policy decision on Wednesday and comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who acknowledged progress in the fight against inflation.
As widely expected, the Fed further reduced the pace of rate hikes, raising the federal funds target range by 25 basis points to 4.5-4.75 percent. In December, the U.S. central bank raised rates by 50 bps, following four consecutive 75 bps increases.
In his press conference on Wednesday, Powell said that "we can now say for the first time, the disinflationary process has started." But he stressed that the job of fighting inflation was not fully done.
Powell hinted a "couple more rate hikes," giving the impression that the hiking cycle is drawing closer to the end.
"This year, the Fed has shifted from aggressive to cautious," Chris Low, chief economist at FHN Financial, said in a note on Thursday.
The Fed is widely expected to hike another 25 bps in its March meeting, and the next two consumer price index and retail sales reports will set the tone for future guidance, he said.
Oil prices fell on Thursday to mark their lowest finish in more than three weeks, after data showed a sixth consecutive weekly build in U.S. crude stockpiles.
The West Texas Intermediate for March delivery dropped 53 cents, or 0.69 percent, to settle at 75.88 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for April delivery lost 67 cents, or 0.81 percent, to close at 82.17 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.
Both the U.S. and the global benchmark settled at their lowest since Jan. 10, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday that the country's commercial crude oil inventories increased by 4.1 million barrels during the week ending Jan. 27. On average, analysts polled by S&P Global Commodity Insights had forecast a rise of 0.3 million barrels in U.S. crude supplies. ■