NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Don't count your chickens before they hatch, or so the market lesson could have read on Wednesday. Shares were higher all day in anticipation of a better economic report card from the Fed, and popped immediately after their release. But markets quickly retreated to previous levels -- seeming to have read the fine print more carefully.
Yes, the central bank is still betting on stronger second-half growth. But there were plenty of caveats in there. For instance, "Participants remarked it was too early to confirm the bounceback in economic activity would put the economy on a path of sustained above-trend economic growth". There were also references to slowing Chinese growth, Ukraine's crisis and plenty of talk around a faltering housing market. Bottom line: we're not out of the woods.
Amid general optimism, financials outperformed, showing leadership that's been MIA so far this rally. Greywolf Execution's Mark Newton advocates buying dips in the group, suggesting the sector is on the verge of turning higher.
Tech stocks were clear illustration of what's become a stockpickers markets -- Twitter (TWTR) was shedding more than a percent while Netflix (NFLX) was more than 3% higher after reports it will launch in six more European countries this year. Small caps gained, but with a lack of conviction.
Standing back, the minutes don't change anything. We all knew they would be broadly positive after last month's cut to bond purchases, but we've still got a vacuum of decent catalysts to push strongly higher. In fact all of the so-called Fragile Five emerging market economies with current account deficits -- India, Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil and South Africa -- have outperformed the S&P in terms of equity returns this year. Still, so long as the fundamentals are decent (and those EMs still look risky) there are few reasons for a savage sell-off.
-- By Jane Searle in New York