3 Min Read
* Fed's Yellen to speak at 2:30 p.m. (1930 GMT)
* Twitter falls after prominent accounts hacked
* Dow up 0.46 pct, S&P 500 up 0.69 pct, Nasdaq up 0.60 pct (Updates with reaction to Fed statement)
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, March 15 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks hit session highs in afternoon trading on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the second time in three months, as expected.
The Fed, which raised its target rate by 25 basis points to 0.75 to 1.00 percent, did not flag any plan to accelerate the pace of monetary tightening, a concern that had lingered among some market participants.
Markets were expecting the Fed's decision and traders had priced in more than a 90 percent chance of a quarter-point rate increase, according to federal funds futures.
"The angst out there in the market was the Fed was going to come out swinging. There was none of that in the statement," said John Canally, investment strategist and economist at LPL Financial in Boston.
"This might be read as a little less hawkish than the market might have feared."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 86.81 points, or 0.42 percent, to 20,924.18, the S&P 500 had gained 15.43 points, or 0.65 percent, to 2,380.88 and the Nasdaq Composite added 33.70 points, or 0.58 percent, to 5,890.51.
U.S. retail sales recorded their smallest gain in six months in February, setting U.S. gross domestic product on track to grow at a 0.8 percent annualized pace in the first quarter according to the Atlanta Fed's latest forecast.
Energy sector stocks boosted the S&P 500 as oil prices rose for the first time in more than a week on a surprise drawdown in U.S. crude inventories. U.S. crude gained 1.9 percent to $48.63 per barrel and Brent added 1.3 percent to $51.60.
Exxon shares rose 0.7 percent and Chevron added 0.6 percent.
Apple was up 1.0 percent at $140.31 after RBC raised its price target on the stock.
Twitter was down 2.9 percent at $14.88 after a number of prominent accounts on the microblogging website were hacked.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 5.45-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.44-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 48 new 52-week highs and two new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 108 new highs and 38 new lows. (Reporting by Rodrigo Campos Additional reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by James Dalgleish)