U.S. equities closed lower on Wednesday as investors assessed the geopolitical landscape. The dollar hit a session low after President Donald Trump told the Wall Street Journal he thought the currency was getting "too strong."
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback's performance against six major currencies, last traded 0.5 percent lower at 100.23 after hitting its lowest level of the month.
"Nothing seems to be happening or not happening as fast as people would like it to happen," said Peter Coleman, head trader at Convergex.
Other traditional safe-haven assets rose, building on gains from Tuesday' session. Gold futures for June delivery rose $3.90 to settle at $1,275.50 per ounce, while the dollar hit its lowest level since November against the Japanese yen. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded near 15.66.
"There's a lot of uncertainty that's really hard to model. That's why you're seeing this give-and-take [in stocks] and the uptick in volatility," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research.
Dollar index intraday
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Moscow on Wednesday and received a barrage of criticism from several Russian officials.
Tillerson said in a news conference Wednesday that U.S.-Russia relations are at a "low point" and need to improve. "The world's two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this kind of relationship," Tillerson said.
All that said, stocks have held their ground this week. The three major indexes are just marginally lower for the week.
"We are concerned about Syria and Russia, ... but at the same time we have a very resilient market," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities. "That could change if one of these geopolitical hotspots heats up, and there's no way to fully price that in."
Geopolitical tensions have been brewing ahead of a highly anticipated earnings seasons. Earnings are expected to have grown around 10 percent in the first quarter, according to Thomson Reuters. Sales, meanwhile, are expected to have grown the most since 2011.
"We're about to start earnings season and [bank analyst] Dick Bove is telling everyone that the banks are a terrible investment, and they're up first," said Maris Ogg, president at Tower Bridge Advisors.