U.S. stocks closed lower on Wednesday as investors remained on edge amid earnings as the Federal Reserve reaffirmed its data-dependent stance following a weak first-quarter GDP report. ( Tweet This )
"The investor takeaway is the Fed is very much sensitive to what is happening in the economy," said Alan Rechtschaffen, financial advisor and senior vice president at UBS Wealth Management Americas.
"I think it is very very difficult to hike when the Fed is speaking the way it has now," he said, noting that everything in the new Fed statement was "more negative" than that of the last meeting.
Equities are lower in "a partial acknowledgement that it's still temporary factors," said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth. "The Fed is not taken out of the picture. Overall (the statement) was right in line."
The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee released its meeting statement on Wednesday afternoon that removed all calendar references and showed no new guidance on the timing of the rate hike.
"Bottom line, the statement was a non-event outside of some modest changes," Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, said in a note. "They did the right thing in that there was no point in leaning in one direction with so much more data to see ahead of the June meeting. We have 2 more labor market figures to see and some more inflation reads too."
Analysts had not expected a change to policy from this Fed meeting.
"I don't think anything has changed," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital. "There's a clear indication the economy has slowed. The Fed is probably not going to hike rates until September. ... The odds are increasing now for December."
Earlier in the afternoon, the Dow Jones industrial average briefly fell more than 150 points as all the major indices declined on the morning's weak GDP report.
"The market reacted somewhat negatively," said Stephen Freedman, CIO head of U.S. thematic and sustainable investing strategy at UBS Wealth Management Americas. "You need to see second quarter indicators improve. It's "not so much 'the bad news is good news.' After focus on the Fed, the focus is on the growth picture."
The Dow Transports fell more than 1 percent to below its 200-day moving average as oil rallied to four-month highs and pressured airlines.
"The net-net of the day for transports is the Fed views the data in the first quarter as transitory," said John Canally, investment strategist and economist at LPL Financial.
"The Fed turns the market's attention to the data," he said, noting a lack of upcoming Fed speakers. "It's really going to keep to that tug of war between the Fed and data."
Read More Dollar trounced on GDP, view of easy Fed
The dollar fell more than 1 percent against major currencies. The euro continued to strengthen, climbing above $1.11 for the first time since March 5.
The common currency's rise came with a more than 3 percent decline in the German DAX that "started with spike in European interest rates with bond sell off after M3 money supply growth was more than expected, lending growth rose for the first time in years and German CPI rose one-tenth more than expected," Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, said in a note.
European equities extended losses as investors reacted to the sharp gains in the euro against the dollar ahead of the Fed statement.