How major U.S. stock indexes fared on Thursday

Boeing accounted for 94% of the Dow index's rise today

The benchmark United States indices recovered from the selloff seen in the last two sessions to end marginally higher on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 indices posting the highest monthly gains since March 2016.

Stocks briefly turned negative Wednesday after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged, but reiterated plans to gradually raise them moving forward.

In Asia, shares climbed on Thursday in early trade, tracking gains seen on Wall Street following the Fed's decision to keep rates unchanged.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 665.75 points, or 2.54 percent, to 25,520.96, the S&P 500 lost 59.85 points, or 2.12 percent, to 2,762.13 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 144.92 points, or 1.96 percent, to 7,240.95.

Google parent Alphabet fell 4.5 per cent after the company's quarterly profit missed analysts' estimates. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 6 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,589.

Losses in health care stocks were offset by gains in technology companies and other sectors.

Eight of the 11 major S&P indexes were lower, with the materials index's 1.21 percent fall leading the decliners.

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One bright spot was Amazon.com, which rose 6 per cent after the online retailer reported a record profit of near $US2 billion ($A2.8 billion), helped by a rise in sales and tax law changes. The Nasdaq Composite closed at 7,411.48 for a gain of 9.00 points or 0.12%.

Still, "the movement in stocks since the beginning of the year has been remarkable", she added. The stock, which has been the biggest gainer in the Dow over the past year, added $19.75 to $357.46.

The S&P 500 index showed 12 new 52-week highs and 16 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 20 new highs and 32 new lows.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 14 cents to $64.36 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

DELIVERING A DUD: United Parcel Service slumped 5.7 percent after it said that higher costs affected its business in the fourth quarter. Brent crude, used to price global oils, gained 26 cents to $69.15 per barrel in London. Before the NYSE open a surge in the German 10-year bund yield chased the DAX below a key technical support and drove United States futures into the red.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 109.36 yen from 109.20 yen. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, gained 76 cents, or 1.1 percent, to close at $69.65 per barrel in London. The euro strengthened to $1.2478 from $1.2410.

Japan's Nikkei 225 jumped 1.3 percent to 23,393.57 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.1 percent to 2,568.28. London's FTSE 100 fell 0.4 percent. Over in Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.71%.

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