Stocks came off early losses to finish higher Wednesday as investors took comfort from the notion that the Federal Reserve didn't appear...

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NEW YORK — Stocks came off early losses to finish higher Wednesday as investors took comfort from the notion that the Federal Reserve didn’t appear overly concerned about inflation after lowering its forecast for economic growth this year.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 90.04 to 12,427.26.

Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, rose 5 cents to close at $28.22 a share. Boeing, also a Dow stock, fell $1.37 to $84.

Broader stock indicators also moved higher. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index advanced 11.25 to 1,360.03, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 20.90 to 2,327.10.

A rebound in hard-hit stocks of financial companies helped fuel the session’s turnaround, while an upbeat forecast from Hewlett-Packard pulled technology issues higher and record prices for oil gave a boost to energy stocks.

Hewlett-Packard shares soared $3.49 to close at $47.44.

Stocks began the day lower amid concern about a rise in consumer prices and lackluster readings on home construction. But observers said the economic figures ultimately didn’t prove all that surprising given a recent run-up in oil prices and the well-documented woes of the housing sector.

Oil futures rallied again Wednesday, pushing briefly past $101 a barrel after the Fed report, convincing energy investors that the central bank will slash interest rates further. Oil settled at a record $100.74 a barrel in New York trading. At the pump, meanwhile, gas prices rose another 2 cents overnight.

Separately, gold futures rose to a record $949.20 an ounce after energy costs jumped to the highest ever, boosting the appeal of the precious metal as a hedge against inflation.

“A strong close in oil helped drag gold to a new record,” said Tom Hartmann, a commodity broker at Altavest Worldwide Trading. “There’s not a lot of people willing to sell the market. The big number on the table here is $1,000.”

Gold futures for April delivery settled at $934.60 in electronic trading on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, after earlier reaching $949.20.