Equities manage to post modest gains, but lose some steam after the release of minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting. Jeanne Yurman reports.
It was choppy trading Wednesday. Stocks closed out with across-the-board gains though blue chips lost some ground after minutes from the last Federal Reserve Meeting were released. The markets have been seeking clues as to when the Fed might hike interest rates. But the minutes show Fed officials are split on whether to hike as early as June or to push an increase off to later in the year. Speaking at Reuters in New York, Federal Reserve President William Dudley says despite recent weak economic data, a June rate hike is still possible. SOUNDBITE: WILLIAM DUDLEY, NEW YORK FEDERAL RESERVE PRESIDENT (ENGLISH) SAYING: "If the economy's strong, the unemployment rate's dropping, wages are rising and the outlook looks good, you could conceivably get to that point. Now obviously it's a bigger hurdle, right? Because you had, you know if you had a weak economic data now you have to see sufficient data on the other side to make you reasonably confident." The oil patch saw its first big merger in over a decade: Royal Dutch Shell is dishing out $70 billion to buy its smaller rival, BG Group. That sent shares of BG up as well as those of rival BP. But data showing a huge weekly build in oil inventory sent other energy shares south. A big marriage proposal propped up drug stocks: Dutch generic king Mylan is bidding about $29 billion for another Dutch company over-the-counter drug maker Perrigo. Tesla's upgraded Model S sedan will cost $5,000 more than its predecessor. The electric car maker began taking orders, and that spurred orders for Tesla shares. Driving in the other direction: shares of Everyware Global. The marketer of Oneida flatware and Anchor Hocking glassware filed for bankruptcy protection. After the bell, aluminum giant Alcoa was the first out of the gate for the first quarter earnings season. Its adjusted earnings of .28 per share beat Street forecasts. In Europe stocks closed lower on the day.