U.S. stocks drifted lower following the release of the minutes of the last Federal Reserve policymakers meeting but managed to close modestly higher on Wednesday. Energy stocks rallied on a bump up in oil prices.
The minutes showed many participants weren't clear what adjustments to interest rates might be necessary later this year.
Bahnsen Group chief investment officer, David Bahnsen:
SOUNDBITE: BAHNSEN GROUP CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, DAVID BAHNSEN (ENGLISH) SAYING:
"There's possible the market already priced in that expectation. It was clear the Fed was headed that direction anyways. And chairman Powell had signaled it the last couple of public appearances. So you probably have some of it kind of on the news. But there weren't really big surprises. And I think in the weeds, what the Fed announced about their balance sheet actually, the markets are really going to like."
Boeing and Caterpillar shares, which are both sensitive to developments in the trade talks, helped boost the Dow.
Southwest Airlines shares declined. The carrier said the partial U.S. government shutdown cost it $60 million in revenue, and Goldman Sachs downgraded the shares to "sell" from "neutral". The news dragged down shares of other airlines as well.
Healthcare stocks eased after CVS Health suffered a quarterly loss and its full-year profit forecast widely missed analysts' targets.
European shares rallied on hopes over the trade talks between the U.S. and China.