NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks were slightly higher as investors traded nervously ahead of the release of the minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting Wednesday afternoon.
The S&P 500 was up 0.05%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.11% and the Nasdaq climbed 0.02%.
The Department of Justice settled with six major banks over criminal charges related to manipulation of currency markets. Citigroup (C), UBS (UBS), Barclays (BCS), JPMorgan (JPM) and RBS (RBS) pleaded guilty and will pay a total $5.6 billion in fines. Bank of America (BAC) was fined $205 million.
Crude oil spiked after weekly inventories declined more than expected. The Energy Information Administration reported a fall of 2.7 million barrels in crude supplies for the week ended May 15. Analysts had expected a drop of 2 million barrels. West Texas Intermediate was up 1.2% to $58.70 a barrel.
Investors on Wednesday will be closely monitoring minutes from the April 29 meeting, at which Fed officials hinted a rate hike wasn't likely as soon as June. The minutes are expected to be released at 2 p.m. EDT.
David Ader, head of government bond strategy at CRT Capital, said he remains skeptical any new information will be gleaned from the minutes.
"We don't expect much from those minutes given that we had the statement which is in effect an executive summary of the minutes and we've had Fedspeak and data subsequently," he said. "We don't think we'll be able to extract any more specifics on the timing of a hike nor insight into the path."
Lowe's (LOW) tumbled 3.7% after missing profit estimates. The home-improvement retailer earned 70 cents a share in its recent quarter, below forecasts of 74 cents, though revenue did increase 5.4% and beat expectations.
Target (TGT) shares were on watch after the retailer beat bottom-line forecasts, though full-year earnings guidance came in weaker than expected. The company expects 2015 profit between $4.50 and $4.56 a share, compared to consensus of $4.56.
Staples (SPLS) fell nearly 2% after reporting in-line earnings and forecasting a decrease in sales in its second quarter. The office supplies chain reported sales at North American stores and online purchases fell 10%.
Etsy (ETSY) tumbled 23% after reporting results for the first quarter since its market debut. The online craft marketplace reported a loss of 84 cents a share, while revenue jumped 44.4% to $58.5 million. At the end of the first quarter of 2015, Etsy had more than 1.4 million active sellers and 20.8 million active buyers.
Yahoo! (YHOO) bounced back from big losses suffered in the final minutes of trading on Tuesday. Yahoo! had tumbled nearly 6% on reports it could face regulatory challenges in its planned spinoff of its ownership stake in Alibaba (BABA). Yahoo! shares moved up 3.1% on Wednesday.
United Technologies (UTX) is reportedly talking to potential buyers about its Sikorsky Aircraft business, according to The Wall Street Journal. United had planned to spin off the unit, though a full sale could fetch around $10 billion. Shares were slightly higher.
Pep Boys (PBY) jumped more than 14% on reports the company has been approached about a takeover, according to Dow Jones. Private-equity firm Golden Gate and other potential suitors are reportedly involved, though Pep Boys has not yet engaged in negotiations.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) shares were slightly higher after the company said it expects to seek regulatory approval by 2019 for more than 10 new pharmaceutical products. Each of the products has the potential to bring in $1 billion in sales each year.
Meanwhile, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, said it has partnered with Achillion Pharmaceuticals (ACHN) to develop and sell hepatitis C treatments.
Stocks ended mixed on Tuesday, though the Dow managed to inch to a new record, as crude oil sold off, earnings from retailers Wal-Mart (WMT) and Home Depot (HD) came in mixed, and the housing market posted signs of a recovery.