Sept. 16 (UPI) -- The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday it will leave interest rates unchanged -- and will likely keep them there for at least a year.
The U.S. central bank made the announcement in an updated outlook at the end of a two-day policy meeting.
Some Fed officials said they expect rates will stay near zero at least through next year, and others forecast they would last through 2023.
The Federal Open Market Committee's updated forecast is based heavily on the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"The committee decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and expects it will be appropriate to maintain this target range until labor market conditions have reached levels consistent with ... maximum employment and inflation has risen to 2 percent," the Fed said in a statement.
"Over coming months the Federal Reserve will increase its holdings of Treasury securities and agency mortgage-backed securities at least at the current pace to sustain smooth market functioning and help foster accommodative financial conditions, thereby supporting the flow of credit to households and businesses."
This week's policy meeting was the first since the Fed said last month it would disregard its longtime strategy of raising interest rates to control inflation.
The Federal Reserve is scheduled to meet again for a policy meeting on Nov. 4, the day after the U.S. presidential election.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average grew 36.78 points, or 0.13%, while the S&P 500 fell 0.46% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.46% following the announcement.
Tech stocks drove the market decline as Facebook stock fell 3.27%, Apple dropped 2.95%, Amazon declined 2.47%, Netflix slid 2.45%, Microsoft slipped 1.79% and Google's parent company, Alphabet, ended the day down 1.5%.
Bank stocks however helped the Dow avoid losses as Goldman Sachs gained 1.35% and JPMorgan Chase grew 0.42%.