NASDAQ Runs Streak to Eight

Stocks closed slightly higher in choppy trading Wednesday as Wall Street tried to interpret a release from the Federal Reserve which summarized its crucial meeting last month where the central bank indicated it would be patient on future rate hikes.

The Dow Jones Industrials gained 63.12 points to close at 25,954.44,

The S&P 500 picked up 4.94 points to 2,784.70,

The NASDAQ Composite forged ahead 2.3 points to 7,489.07, to notch its eight consecutive gain.

CVS Health shares fell more than 8% after issuing a weaker-than-expected earnings forecast for 2019. The company's guidance comes after closing a $70-billion deal to acquire health insurer Aetna in November.

Southwest Airlines fell 5.7% after slashing its revenue guidance. The company said the recent U.S. government shutdown cost it $60 million in sales.

The Fed meeting minutes highlighted downside risks to the economy from its January meeting, including "the possibilities of a sharper-than-expected slowdown in global economic growth, particularly in China and Europe, a rapid waning of fiscal policy stimulus, or a further tightening of financial market conditions."

Stocks have been on a tear lately in part because of the Fed's perceived pause on rate hikes. The Dow and NASDAQ are riding an eight-week winning streak, while the S&P 500 is up seven of the past eight weeks. Since the Fed's meeting in January, the major indexes are all up more than 4%.

The Fed said on Jan. 30 it would be "patient" in tightening monetary policy moving forward and kept interest rates unchanged. Investors will peruse the minutes, looking for more clues about how long the Fed plans to remain patient. The minutes are scheduled for release for 2 p.m. ET.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury settled, raising yields to 2.65% from Tuesday’s 2.64%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 81 cents to $56.90 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices faded $2.60 to $1,342.20 U.S. an ounce.