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The Federal Reserve released minutes of a recent FOMC meeting that suggested they were in no hurry to exit stimulus programs and would eventually do so gradually -- U.S. stock markets rallied into the close after the release.

Today, that momentum carried into European markets with the Stoxx Europe 600 gaining 0.5%.

Asians stocks sank on news that the Japanese economy suffered a larger than expected contraction in the first quarter -- marking two quarters of contraction. This puts Japan in a recession, the third in a decade. Analysts say the earthquake has caused consumers to stop spending and save more; the Nikkei sank 0.4% on the news.

On the earnings front,

Limited Brands


, the clothing retailer that owns

Victoria's Secret


Bath & Body Works

forecast second quarter earnings to be as little as 38 cents a share, falling short of the 43 cent analyst consensus.

Advance Auto Parts

(AAP) - Get Free Report

, the second-largest U.S. auto parts retailer reported first-quarter profit of $1.35 a share, falling short of the average analyst estimate by 2 cents.

Hot Topic

( HOTT) forecast a loss in the second-quarter of as much as 11 cents a share, exceeding the average analyst estimate of a 10 cent loss.

After the bell, investors will look to earnings from

(CRM) - Get Free Report

-- the first quarter is seasonally slow for the company; not good for a stock already down almost 1.5% for May.


(UBS) - Get Free Report

notes that the first quarter is absent many catalysts, but Salesforce has beat first quarter revenue guidance every year since its IPO in 2004. Look for revenue of 482.4 million dollars with earnings of $0.27 cents a share. Focus on bookings growth, currency tailwinds and any impact from Japan's earthquake, which according to estimates, is about ten percent of revenue.

Pay attention to



long awaited IPO -- the first social networking site to hit the market. It will be a good way to gauge investor interest in the sector and will be used to determine whether sky-high valuations for


and other private tech firms, like


, can hold up in the public arena.

The performance of recent IPOs has been mixed with


(SODA) - Get Free Report

performing well while


(RENN) - Get Free Report


General Motors

(GM) - Get Free Report

have disappointed.

Technology stocks had some nice oversold bounces in key areas and thus appear to be building patterns for potential moves higher. On Tuesday,


(NFLX) - Get Free Report



(AAPL) - Get Free Report



(AMZN) - Get Free Report

all showed relative strength, then continued that strength into Wednesday as they rallied with the overall markets.

Chinese internet stocks also provided leadership with


(BIDU) - Get Free Report



(SOHU) - Get Free Report


Qihoo 360 Technology


all positive while


(SINA) - Get Free Report

was a laggard, finishing in the red.

Crude oil, silver and gold extend gains, as traders look for the rebound to continue but the action remains lackluster as volatility leaves the commodities group. Look for the

iShares Silver Trust ETF

(SLV) - Get Free Report

to trade on volume, but potentially frustrate active investors.

Finally, Scott Redler breaks down the developing descending channel developing in the


(SPY) - Get Free Report

and gives clues as to which way it will break.

Disclosure: Scott Redler is flat.

This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.