NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Federal Reserve has telegraphed that it is data-dependent and won't rush into a rate hike again and again.
But Wall Street wanted more transparency from Fed Chair Janet Yellen and her crew on Wednesday after the minutes from the Fed's April meeting failed to give a clear sense of when a hike could occur.
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average hit intraday records earlier in the afternoon before a brief rally deflated and stocks fell back into the red. The S&P 500 fell 0.1%, the Dow slid 0.14%, and the Nasdaq gained 0.03%.
Investors are "getting confused by what they believe the consensus of the Fed is," said Kevin Mahn, chief investment officer of Hennion & Walsh Asset Management, in a call. "The Fed ... [is] putting the doubt back in that it may not happen in June. The question then becomes, does it happen in September? If second-quarter GDP disappoints, does it happen in 2015 at all?"
The minutes noted that many on the Fed board saw a June rate hike as unlikely, with only a few members supporting an increase so soon.
"Many participants ... thought it unlikely that the data available in June would provide sufficient confirmation that the conditions for raising the target range for the federal funds rate had been satisfied, although they generally did not rule out this possibility," according to the minutes from the April 29 meeting.
Members also said first-quarter weakness was transitory, citing a recent trend of slow starts to the year, alongside winter winter and the West Coast port slowdown. The Fed said it expects the economy to return to growth given low rates, high confidence and rising incomes.