U.S. stocks finished a three-day rally on Friday as investors continued to applaud the Federal Reserve’s commitment to be patient when deciding when to hike interest rates. At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow 30 rose 0.15%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.46%, while the Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.36%. The S&P 500 VIX index, which measures the outlook for market volatility, was down 1.90% at 16.49. The Federal Reserve said on Wednesday it was leaving its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.00-0.25% and added it will exercise patience when raising interest rates to make sure the economy continues to improve. In past statements, the Fed said it would take “considerable time” to make sure recovery is underway before tightening policy. In Wednesday’s statement, the Fed left in that dovish phrase, though the context of the language suggested that the “considerable time” wordage applied to past statements, leaving markets to conclude that even though rate hikes are on the way, monetary authorities will be patient when acting. The Fed’s language sparked a three-day rally on Wall Street by fueling expectations that borrowing costs will remain low for some time to come while economic fundamentals continue to improve and bolster corporate top and bottom lines. Thursday’s upbeat data out of the labor market drew applause as well. The U.S. Department of Labor reported earlier that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending Dec. 12 fell by 6,000 to 289,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 295,000. Economist had forecast an increase of 1,000. Elsewhere, manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia-region slowed in December after expanding at the fastest rate since December 1993 last month, according to data released on Thursday. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said its manufacturing index came in 24.5 at this month, down from 40.8 in November. Economists had forecast a decline to 26.6. On the index, a reading above 0.0 indicates improving conditions, below indicates worsening conditions. Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), up 3.58%, Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), up 2.72%, and General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), up 1.91%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average’s worst performers included Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE), down 2.31%, Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), down 1.76%, and United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX), down 1.18%. European indices, meanwhile, ended the day largely lower. After the close of European trade, the Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.53%, France’s CAC 40 fell 0.18%, while Germany’s DAX 30 fell 0.25%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 rose 1.23%.