Stock Market Skids After Cautious Comments From the Fed 

NEW YORK (AP) -

Stocks sank Wednesday after the Federal Reserve gave a cautious assessment of the global economy and said growth in the U.S. has slowed down.

The statement from the Fed smothered a small rally in stocks earlier in the day. In addition to lowering its view of the U.S. economy, the Fed didn’t say if it will respond to those and other concerns by slowing down its planned increases in interest rates.

Investors sold tech stocks, already under pressure following a shaky outlook from Apple, as well as consumer stocks like travel booking sites and cruise lines. They bought conservative, dividend-paying stocks like telecommunications companies and utility providers.

The& Dow& Jones industrial average fell 222.77 points, to 1.4 percent, to 15,944.46. A large chunk of that loss belonged to Apple and to Boeing, which gave a disappointing 2016 outlook and suffered its biggest one-day loss in 14 years.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index sank 20.68 points, or 1.1 percent, to 1,882.95. The slump in tech stocks hammered the Nasdaq composite index, which lost 99.51 points, or 2.2 percent, to 4,468.17.

Even if the U.S. economy has slowed, it’s been growing steadily for years while other major economies like China, Europe and Japan have struggled. Partly for that reason, the dollar has gotten very strong compared to other global currencies, making U.S. exports more expensive and imports cheaper.

That’s one of the big problems facing Apple. Tim Cook, CEO of the world’s most valuable publicly traded company, said the dollar is having an “extreme” effect on its sales in almost every country. Apple also said iPhone sales set another record in its latest quarter, but sales growth slowed down. It predicted a revenue decline in the current quarter, something that hasn’t happened in 13 years.

The stock gave up $6.57, or 6.6 percent, to $93.42.

The dollar didn’t change much after the Fed’s announcement. The euro rose to $1.0907 from $1.0853 and the dollar rose to 118.64 yen from 118.46 yen. Further increases in interest rates are likely to make the dollar even stronger compared to other currencies.

The price of crude rose as investors hoped for cuts in fuel production. On Wednesday the head of Russia’s state oil pipeline monopoly said talks with OPEC and Saudi Arabia are in the works.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 85 cents, or 2.7 percent, to close at $32.30 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oils, rose $1.30, or 4.1 percent, to $31.10 a barrel in London. Oil prices also increased about 4 percent on Tuesday.

Aerospace and defense giant Boeing fell after its profit forecast came up short of analysts’ projections. Boeing stock lost $11.43, or 8.9 percent, to $116.58, its lowest closing price in more than two years. Textron fell $5.04, or 13.4 percent, to $32.69.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline slipped to $1.0457 a gallon. Heating oil rose 5.8 cents, or 5.9 percent, to $1.025 a gallon. Natural gas added 0.9 cents to $2.189 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold fell $4.40 to $1,115.80 an ounce. Silver lost 10.5 cents to $14.459 an ounce. Copper gained 2.65 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $2.064 a pound.

France’s CAC-40 added 0.5 percent while Germany’s DAX rose 0.6 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 was 1.3 percent higher. The Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.5 percent, adding to Tuesday’s 6.4-percent loss. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 2.7 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 1 percent.