NEW YORK, March 22 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks traded lower on Thursday as investors were digesting the latest Federal Reserve decision to raise interest rates.
At midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 358.79 points, or 1.45 percent, to 24,323.52. The S&P 500 decreased 37.58 points, or 1.39 percent, to 2,674.35. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 106.90 points, or 1.46 percent, to 7,238.39.
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 "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 demands.
In corporate news, shares of Facebook declined nearly 2 percent on Thursday after the company's CEO Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence over news that the social media giant allowed third parties to access data on millions of users without their knowledge.
In an interview with CNN on Wednesday night, Zuckerberg said it had been "a major breach of trust, and I'm really sorry that this happened." Shares of Facebook had been under pressure in the past four sessions, sliding over 8 percent through Wednesday's close. Enditem