U.S. stocks were little changed on Wednesday, with benchmarks at or near all-time highs, as Wall Street took in stride minutes from the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting, which had some central bankers concerned prices are not increasing rapidly enough.
The minutes from the central bank come from its October session, at which the Fed finished its bond-buying program, while sticking with its pledge to keep interest rates low for a considerable period.
The minutes had Fed members continuing to "expect inflation to move back to the committee's 2 percent target over the medium term as resource slack diminished in an environment of well-anchored inflation expectations."
Still, many members noted the Federal Open Market Committee should be on the lookout for a possible "downward shift in longer-term inflation expectations. Some of them noted that if such an outcome occurred, it would be even more worrisome if growth faltered."
"The inflation side of their mandate is their ace in the hole. If you look at the trajectory of nonfarm payrolls, since the beginning of the year, it's been running over 200,000 a month. If that continues we will reach full employment in the first quarter of next year. But if inflation is running significantly below the 2 percent level, that gives them more time," said Mike Materasso, senior vice president and co-chair of the Franklin Templeton fixed-income policy committee.
"There's a nagging concern that the Fed has, that despite all the metrix, of raising rates too soon," Materasso added.
"As inflation remains low, well below their own internal target, it gives the Fed more leeway to keep rates lower for longer," said Tom Kersting, principal and fixed-income investment strategist at Edward Jones.
"This really wasn't a significant announcement, bond, stock and currency markets haven't moved materially on the release," Kersting noted.
The CBOE Volatility Index, one measure of investor uncertainty, rose 1 percent to 14.00.