NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It was a choppy final hour of trading with stocks falling Wednesday afternoon as markets digested the Federal Reserve's statement on interest rates.
On the one hand, the Fed didn't rule out a possible June rate hike; that spooked markets. On the other, the central bank said a weak first quarter was merely due to "transitory factors" which placated investors worried over the economic recovery.
The S&P 500 was down 0.35%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.45%, and the Nasdaq declined 0.5%.
In its statement, the Fed said it expects the U.S. economy to rebound after weak GDP and a hiring slowdown during the first quarter and that weakness in the "winter months" was "transitory." The Fed's statement and the decision to hold steady on rates for the month was unanimously agreed upon by board members.
"There's little surprise that they immediately noted the weather was an impact and that impact reflected 'transitory factors.' Much of what they say is par for the course," said Dan Greenhaus, chief strategist at BTIG Research. "(There's) not much in the statement that was unexpected and, therefore, not too much to note."
The initial estimate of GDP for the first quarter, released earlier Wednesday, came in at just 0.2%, falling from 2.2% in the previous quarter, and marked the worst performance in more than a year.
"The U.S. economy all but stagnated in the first quarter, as lower energy prices triggered a big drop in mining investment but did little to boost consumer spending because of the impact of the unseasonably cold winter in the Northeast," said Capital Economics chief economist Paul Ashworth.
Salesforce.com (CRM) - Get salesforce.com, inc. Report soared 16.4% Wednesday afternoon after Bloomberg reported the company is working with financial advisers to field takeover offers. Shares were briefly halted due to volatility.
Crude oil climbed after crude inventories in the U.S. added 1.9 million barrels over the week ended April 24. Analysts had expected an increase of 2.3 million barrels after inventories added 5.3 million barrels the week earlier. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 3.1% to $58.80 a barrel.
Pending home sales in the U.S. increased 1.1% in March, slightly better than an expected 1% increase. March sales were at their fastest rate since last summer.
Twitter (TWTR) - Get Twitter, Inc. Report added to its 18% drop on Tuesday, falling a further 8.1% on Wednesday. The company said it was investigating a possible leak after earnings results were published earlier than a scheduled release on Tuesday afternoon.
The social media network earned 7 cents a share, 3 cents higher than expected, though revenue of $436 million missed estimates of $457 million. Second-quarter revenue guidance also was light.
Time Warner (TWX) erased earlier gains. The entertainment company reported quarterly net income of $1.19 a share, a dime better than expected. Total sales of $7.13 billion came in nearly 5% higher than a year earlier. The stock added 0.7%.
Mylan (MYL) - Get Mylan N.V. (MYL) Report and Perrigo (PRGO) - Get Perrigo Co. Plc Report shares were on watch after Mylan raised its bid to buy the drugmaker to $75 a share. Mylan had previously bid $60 a share. Perrigo shares added 0.1%.
Starwood Hotels (HOT) climbed 8.1% after beating top- and bottom-line estimates. The hotelier also announced it was exploring strategic options to increase shareholder value.
GoPro (GPRO) - Get GoPro, Inc. Class A Report surged 13.8% after profit and sales beat estimates in its first quarter. The company reported strong demand for its Hero4 action camera and provided a better-than-expected forecast for second-quarter growth.
Stratasys (SSYS) - Get Stratasys Ltd. Report plummeted 21.7%. The company issued a first-quarter warning, cutting its profit guidance to 2 cents to 4 cents a share, far below an expected 29 cents a share. Stratasys blamed weaker performance in North America and a stronger dollar.
Mondelez (MDLZ) - Get Mondelez International, Inc. Class A (MDLZ) Report jumped 5.7% after reporting net income of 41 cents a share in its first quarter, 3 cents better than expected. Revenue of $7.8 billion fell nearly 10% from a year earlier as a stronger dollar ate into overall sales.
"We admit that our anticipation of a market correction based on earnings has not materialized so far," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital. "The majority of companies have beaten market expectations while running short of revenue growth, a problem that will likely haunt the market later, as high valuations become a fundamental problem. Nevertheless, with a few days left until May, we think, the old adage, 'Sell in May and go away,' may prove the best prescription for now."
Lumber Liquidators (LL) - Get Lumber Liquidators Holdings, Inc. Report tanked 18.5% after reporting the Department of Justice is seeking criminal charges. The company has been under fire for potentially harmful products, particularly relating to carcinogens in its wood flooring.