U.S. stocks closed lower on Wednesday after an earlier than expected release of the Federal Reserve's minutes, global growth concerns and a plunge in oil prices sent them for a wild ride. (Tweet This)
The Dow Jones industrial average opened Wednesday trading by shedding over 150 points before falling over 225 points in late-morning trading, while the S&P 500 fell over 1 percent and the Nasdaq Composite traded below the 5,000 mark.
Nevertheless, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq briefly turned positive while the S&P 500 pared most of its earlier losses after the Fed's minutes release before going back down.
US stock indexes on the day
Dow Jones industrial average
"People shouldn't read too much into these intraday movements until we break out of this range," said Zacharay Karabell, head of global strategy at Envestnet. "We're in an August market with low volume that's kind of 'meh.'"
The minutes indicated that conditions for the first rates increase in about a decade had not been met, due primarily to inflation that is not yet moving toward the necessary conditions.
"Most judged that the conditions for policy firming had not yet been achieved, but they noted that conditions were approaching that point. Participants observed that the labor market had improved notably since early this year, but many saw scope for some further improvement," the minutes said.
"The market is definitely treating this as a sign that the Fed is not likely to raise rates in September," said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors, adding that there's still a chance that a hike could come in December of this year.
"I think today really shows us that data dependence is not a monetary policy. My sense is that this is a committee that wants to hike; if anything it seems like the odds of September have gone up," Richard Clarida, global strategic advisor at Pimco, said on CNBC's "Power Lunch."
"This really reinforces the idea that the status quo is not good enough, that the Fed will remain on the sideline waiting for further improvement. This reinforces our long-held forecast that the Fed will wait beyond that September meeting, beyond that December meeting and really make a liftoff a 2016 event," Lindsey Piegza, chief economist Stifel Nicolaus & Co., said after the release.