Federal Reserve Holds Steady, Signals Higher Inflation

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Commodity-linked currencies like the Canadian CAD= and Australian AUD= dollars gained sharply, with the latter rising 0.4 percent to $0.7523 cents after data showing a better-than-expected jump in the country's trade surplus for March.

In late March, the Fed raised interest rates by a quarter percent for the first time this year during Jerome Powell's first meeting as Chairman.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 crept 0.3 per cent higher, with overnight results from Kraft Heinz, Tesla and Spotify in focus.

Committee members expect "that, with further gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace and labor market conditions will remain strong".

The negative mood carried over from the Asian trading session, where shares slipped as hopes waned for real progress in Sino-U.S. trade talks, following reports the Trump administration is considering executive action to restrict some Chinese companies' ability to sell telecoms equipment in the United States.

"There wasn't any particular news to get it going other than the Fed staying the course, and that contributed to the slide in stock prices", said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist, senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in NY.

Edison's George added that the impact from trade tensions was hypothetical at the moment, though.

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The US begins trade talks in China on Thursday, with both sides dialing back expectations. However, he added that CIBC is expecting a move, as the USA economy continues to expand. The U.S. dollar was down to 0.9953 Swiss franc from 0.9964 Swiss franc, and it fell to 1.2830 Canadian dollars from 1.2848 Canadian dollars.

The MSCI Emerging Market Index decreased 0.7 per cent to the lowest in more than a week.

The Fed hinted that more rate hikes are coming later this year if the economy continues to strengthen.

Yet the Fed also emphasised the inflation target was "symmetric", suggesting it was not inclined to speed up its tightening plans.

"At some point in the year ahead, the [Fed] may have to provide some more clarity about whether it actually intends to lift the federal funds rate to a "restrictive" level by the end of next year", Ryan Wang, US economist at HSBC, wrote in a research note on Wednesday.

A picture illustration of Euro banknotes, April 26, 2014. The Dow Jones and S&P 500, after briefly turning positive, fell 0.7%.

Elsewhere, emerging-market equities and currencies dropped, while gold advanced and West Texas oil rose after plunging Tuesday in the wake of an industry report that showed US crude stockpiles rose by more than expected.