STORY: U.S. stocks rallied on Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve soothed investors nerves by suggesting interest rates would not head further north.

The Dow gained more than eight-tenths of a percent, the S&P 500 climbed nine-tenths and the Nasdaq added 1.5%.

After the Fed left rates unchanged Wednesday, Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank's next policy move would be to lower rates, even if hotter-than-expected inflation data delays its first rate cut.

Sam Stovall is chief investment strategist at CFRA Research.

"I think what's moving markets today is the sigh of relief that investors are breathing because the Fed did not imply that they were likely to be raising rates any time soon. Actually, Fed Chair Powell said that that's something that they are not considering. That is unlikely. And I think that was one of the real concerns that investors had. Now, today, we're seeing a lot of the interest-sensitive groups, the growth groups doing quite well at the expense of some of the defensive areas that had been safe havens heading into that FOMC meeting."

Among the growth stocks that gained: Apple, whose shares closed up more than 2% before adding another 6% in after-hours trading after the tech giant reported a smaller-than-expected drop in quarterly revenue. CEO Tim Cook told Reuters Apple expects a return to sales growth in the current quarter as it invests in artificial intelligence, with plans to unveil those AI features in the coming months.

And Carvana shares surged nearly 34% after the used car platform's upbeat profit forecast.

On the flip side, disappointing profit guidance from DoorDash sent its stock down more than 10%.

And Etsy shares slid 15% after the online marketplace missed Wall Street expectations for first-quarter gross merchandise sales and profit.