The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 4 points, or 0.2%, to 2,380 as of 11:26 a.m. EDT. Small-company stocks ticked up. The FTSE 100 in London rose 0.6% and the DAX in Frankfurt rose by a similar amount. Investors had been nervous about Wednesday's Dutch election, where politicians had railed against the European Union and immigration.
Analysts said the election this week in Holland had calmed concerns over political risk in Europe, as Dutch center-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte fought off the challenge of anti-Islam and anti-EU rival Geert Wilders. Stocks in South Korea and Australia fell.
Prices on benchmark 10-year Treasuries rose 17/32 to yield 2.533 percent, from 2.595 percent late on Tuesday.
While the Fed raised interest rates by 25 basis points on Wednesday, it kept to its original forecast of three rate hikes this year, disappointing investors who were expecting four. Once the yield gets to 2.60 percent, he said many buyers will likely pounce given still-modest growth in the economy and inflation, which should help keep a lid on rates.
The US central bank's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is all but certain to announce an interest rate hike later on Wednesday.
SOME CENTRAL BANKS FOLLOW THE FED: China's central bank raised a short-term interest rate on lending to banks but left its benchmark rate unchanged after the US increase. "The rate hike was priced in and we got it". The Bank of England held its interest rates at record lows.
Judge delays legal challenge to Trump's new travel ban
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Thursday that the administration believed the new order would withstand legal scrutiny. Spokeswoman Nicole Navas said agency attorneys were reviewing the Syrian man's complaint and declined to comment further.
Oracle gave the biggest boost to the S&P, with an 8.3 percent rise after the business software maker issued a better-than-expected quarterly profit. USA builders broke ground on new homes at a faster pace in February, and the pace was faster than economists expected.
Stock movers:MSCI Inc.(MSCI) rose 2.7% after it denied reports that it received, and rejected, a buyout bid by S&P Global Inc. The Euro Stoxx 50 Index advanced 0.9%. Separately, retail sales rose 0.1% in February (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-retail-sales-barely-budge-in-february-2017-03-15). Brent crude ended the session 7 cents lower at $51.74 a barrel.
The precious metal saw its value push to a two-week high of $1,230 on Friday, driven by a lower US currency following a cautious update by the US Federal Reserve.
"Although bulls have exploited dollar's weakness to elevate gold, gains could be limited in the longer term if the Fed readopts an aggressive stance", said Lukman Otunuga, analyst at FXTM in a Friday research note. A barrel of oil was worth almost $55 in late February. It was the eighth drop in the last nine days. The S&P 500 rose 0.8 percent one day after the Fed's decision. Meanwhile, gold prices fell by 0.07 per cent to United States dollars 1,202.80 an ounce in Singapore today.
CURRENCIES: The euro from dipped to $1.0746 from $1.0749 late Thursday, and the British pound fell to $1.2367 from $1.2358.