The Fed repeated its long-held language that it believes rates can be increased at a "measured" pace, which was a relief to investors who feared a more aggressive stance.
That reassurance lifted shares of companies sensitive to borrowing costs such as Pulte Homes Inc., which climbed as the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note slipped to 4.39 percent. The 10-year note's yield is used in setting mortgage rates, and lower rates serve as a catalyst for new home purchases.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 78.74 points, or 0.75 percent, to end at 10,615.67. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 8.25 points, or 0.67 percent, to finish at 1,231.38. The technology-laced Nasdaq Composite Index rose 9.80 points, or 0.45 percent, to 2,174.19.
On the NYSE, about 1.58 billion shares changed hands, above last year's daily average of 1.46 billion, while on Nasdaq, about 1.52 billion shares traded, below last year's daily average of 1.81 billion.