NEW YORK, March 22 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks opened lower on Thursday as traders were sifting through the Federal Reserve's latest decision to raise interest rates.
Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 265.07 points, or 1.07 percent, to 24,417.24. The S&P 500 decreased 24.66 points, or 0.91 percent, to 2,687.27. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 74.23 points, or 1.01 percent, to 7,271.05.
The U.S. central bank on Wednesday raised the benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points and signaled two more rate hikes in 2018, citing the "strengthened" economic outlook in recent months.
"In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation," the Fed decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1.5 to 1.75 percent, the Fed said in a statement after concluding a two-day meeting.
Fed officials widely expected that the U.S. economy would grow at a faster pace this and next year, driven by fiscal stimulus and improved overseas demand.
In corporate news, shares of Facebook declined nearly 1 percent on Thursday morning after the company's chief executive Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence over news that the social media giant allowed third parties to access the data of millions of users without their knowledge.
In an interview with U.S. television network CNN on Wednesday night, Zuckerberg said the leakage had been "a major breach of trust, and I'm really sorry that this happened."
Shares of Facebook have been under pressure in the past four trading sessions, down over 8 percent through Wednesday's close.
Investors also paid close attention to U.S. President Donald Trump's potential tariff plan towards imports from China, which has raised widespread concern and criticism among U.S. industry associations and major retailers. Enditem