The S&P 500 and Dow were flat, while the Nasdaq added 0.2% on Wednesday. Wall Street was looking to break a two-day losing streak triggered by a global bond selloff.
Dow component DuPont was 6% lower after no Trian Fund Management nominees were elected to the board at DuPont's annual shareholder meeting. Activist investor Nelson Peltz of Trian had tried for a seat, even though the company had previously refused and rejected his demands to split the company into two.
U.S. retail sales in April were unchanged, falling below an expected 0.3% increase after 0.9% growth in March. Sales excluding autos rose 0.1%, according to the Commerce Department, though fell short of forecasts for 0.4% growth.
"The continuing weakness of retail sales in April brings into question our working assumption that the soft patch through the winter months was largely due to the unseasonably cold temperatures in the Northeast," said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics.
Crude oil extended a rally after U.S. inventories dropped 2.2 million barrels over the past week, the second straight weekly decline in stockpiles. Economists had expected an increase of 400,000 barrels.
The Energy Information Administration's weekly data follows from Tuesday's updated 2015 estimates that U.S. oil demand will increase and production will slow.West Texas Intermediate added 1% to $61.35 a barrel on Wednesday.