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story.lead_photo.caption The New York Stock Exchange is shown, Tuesday, July 21, 2020. Stocks are holding on to their gains, Wednesday, July 29, on Wall Street after the Federal Reserve said it will keep the accelerator floored on its aid for the economy. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street rallied Wednesday, and the S&P 500 climbed 1.2 percent for its best day in two weeks after the Federal Reserve kept the accelerator floored on its support for the economy.

U.S. stocks began rising as soon as trading opened, and momentum picked up after the Fed said in the afternoon that it will keep interest rates at their record low as the economy struggles through the recession created by the coronavirus pandemic.

The S&P 500 gained 40.00 points to 3,258.44 for its second gain in the last three days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 160.29, or 0.6 percent, to 26,539.57, and the Nasdaq composite added 140.85, or 1.4 percent, to 10,542.94.

Besides keeping short-term rates pinned at nearly zero, the Federal Reserve also said it will continue to buy about $120 billion in Treasury and mortgage bonds each month to support the economy.

Such aid from the Fed, along with stimulus from Congress, helped launch the stock market's turnaround in March. Congress is also locked in negotiations for more support for the economy, with $600 in weekly unemployment benefits about to expire. Democrats and Republicans seem to remain far apart in their proposals, but investors are still hopeful about a deal's chances.

If those two remain in hand, the big wild card for markets will continue to be the coronavirus pandemic and whether a vaccine can be developed for it within the next year.

The S&P 500 is back within 3.8 percent of its record set in February after earlier being down nearly 34 percent.

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