NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The market had a lot of financial news to digest on Wednesday. The Justice Department announced that Citigroup (C), J.P.Morgan Chase (JPM), and four other banks would be on the hook for $5.9 billion in fines for manipulating foreign currency markets.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve released the minutes from its April meeting, which made a June rate hike seem less likely.
Trading was choppy throughout the day, and the S&P 500 closed slightly down at 2,125.85 after reaching an intraday high following the release of the Fed minutes.
The Justice Department's nearly two year investigation into currency rate manipulation led to hefty fines against six of the world's largest banks. Many of the companies named in the Justice Department's investigation settled similar charges last November to the tune of $4.3 billion.
Citigroup, J.P. Morgan, Barclays (BCS) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) pleaded guilty to currency rate rigging charges while UBS (UBS) and Bank of America (BAC) received fines for their "unsafe and unsound practices." Citigroup will be paying a combined total of $1.26 billion to the Justice Department and the Federal Reserve while J.P. Morgan is on the hook for $892 million.
In a somewhat surprising twist, many of the banks charged in the Justice Department's investigation saw their stock tick upward following the settlement announcements. In notes to clients, Gerard Cassidy, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets sees the settlements as a "positive step" in resolving Citigroup's and JPMorgan's remaining legal battles.