(By Balachander) U.S. stocks closed on a negative note after the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy decision disappointed investors who hoped the central bank may announce another round of quantitative easing to spur economic growth.
S&P 500 Index dipped 0.29 percent to close at 1,379.33. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.25 percent to end at 12,976.13. The Nasdaq Composite Index retreated 0.66 percent to finish at 2,920.21.
Economic activity decelerated somewhat over the first half of this year and growth is expected to remain moderate over coming quarters and then to pick up very gradually, according to the policy statement from the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).
Nonetheless, the Committee said it will "closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments and will provide additional accommodation as needed to promote a stronger economic recovery and sustained improvement in labor market conditions in a context of price stability."
The Fed said it will continue to hold short-term interest rates at low levels until at least late 2014.
Meanwhile, investors keenly anticipate announcement from the European Central Bank's (ECB) meeting on Thursday. Last week, ECB President Mario Draghi said the central bank could do whatever is needed to protect the beleaguered euro.
On the domestic data front, the ADP National Employment report - a measure of the monthly change in non-farm private employment - showed that U.S. companies added 163,000 jobs last month, topping economists expectations of 120,000 jobs. The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index for July came in at 49.8 percent, below expectations of a reading of 50.4 percent, pointed to a contraction for the second consecutive month.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: CMCSA, MA, ALL, ENR, EA, FTR, DWA, GNW, IDIX, TTWO, CECO
In corporate news, Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ:CMCSA) added 3.07 percent after the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based cable operator reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings amid increases in revenue and cash flow.
Mastercard Inc. (NYSE:MA) fell 2.14 percent after the Purchase, New York-based payments network's quarterly revenue missed consensus estimates.
Allstate Corp. (NYSE:ALL) advanced 6.12 percent after the Northbrook, Illinois-based insurance company posted a profit in the second quarter amid sharp decline in catastrophe losses.
General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) posted a 6.4 percent drop in U.S. sales for the month of July due to a sharp fall in rental volume. Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) also reported a 4 percent fall in monthly U.S. sales, due to a 16 percent decrease in fleet sales. Ford shares were off 4.70 percent and GM stock edged lower.
Energizer Holdings Inc. (NYSE:ENR) tumbled 12.05 percent after the St. Louis, Missouri-based maker of personal care products posted third-quarter results that trailed analysts' expectations.
Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) jumped 5.99 percent after the Redwood City, California-based developer of gaming software posted a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss.
Frontier Communications Corp. (NASDAQ:FTR) rallied 10.71 percent after the Stamford, Connecticut-based Internet services provider's quarterly results topped Wall Street projections.
Genworth Financial Inc. (NYSE:GNW) tumbled 11.11 percent after the Richmond, Virginia-based posted second-quarter earnings that fell short of consensus estimates.
Dreamworks Animation Skg Inc. (NASDAQ:DWA) dropped 6.30 percent after the Glendale, California-based maker of 'Shrek' and 'Kung Fu Panda' film series posted quarterly earnings and revenue that missed market expectations.
Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:IDIX) slumped 17.87 percent after the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based drug developer announced public offering of $150 million of its common stock.
Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (NASDAQ:TTWO) lost 10.36 percent after the developer of interactive entertainment products posted a wider quarterly loss and slashed its 2013 forecast.
Career Education Corp. (NASDAQ:CECO) plunged 21.66 percent after the Schaumburg, Illinois-based company reported a quarterly loss amid a 24 percent decline in revenue.
European markets ended mixed ahead of the European Central Bank meet on Thursday. Germany's DAX lost 0.26 percent to close at 6,754.46. France's CAC40 added 0.91 percent to finish at 3,321.56. U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 1.38 percent to end at 5,712.82.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index added 0.94 percent to finish at 2,123.36. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.61 percent to end at 8,641.85. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 0.12 percent to end at 19,820.38. India's BSE Sensex finished at 17,257.38, up 0.12 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures added 0.93 percent to $88.88 per barrel while natural gas futures declined 1.37 percent to $3.165 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures fell 0.63 percent to $1,604.5 per ounce and silver futures dropped 2.06 percent to $27.340 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro shed 0.64 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2225. The British pound lost 0.87 percent against the greenback to 1.5540, and the dollar advanced 0.42 percent against the Japanese yen to 78.4500.