A rally in U.S. shares stalled Thursday, after equities reached a two-month high, as investors weighed corporate earnings and prospects for higher interest rates this year.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was little changed at 2,089.40 at 4 p.m. in New York, near the highest level since Aug. 18, after briefly erasing losses in the final half hour. The gauge is up 8.8 percent in October, poised for its best month in four years, boosted by gains in commodity producers and technology shares.

Fed officials yesterday forecast moderate growth, and dropped a reference to global risks in a policy statement following a two-day meeting. They also referred to their “next meeting” on Dec. 15-16 as they discussed the timing for raising interest rates. Traders are now pricing in a 52 percent chance of liftoff in December, compared with as low as 30 percent last week. Prior to the Fed meeting, March was the first month showing at least even odds for a rate increase.

Data continues to be the Fed’s guide toward an eventual rate boost, and a report today showed the economy expanded at a slower pace in the third quarter as companies took advantage of gains in consumer and business spending to reduce bloated stockpiles. A separate measure showed contract signings to purchase previously owned homes unexpectedly fell in September by the most since the end of 2013, indicating the residential real estate market is cooling from its recent brisk pace.

Source : Bloomberg