Wall Street Mixed Ahead of Fed

(AP) -- Stocks were wavering between gains and losses in early trading Wednesday, a day after the S&P 500 had its biggest drop in four weeks and broke a five-day winning streak.

Investors are waiting to hear from the Federal Reserve, which will release the minutes from its latest policy meeting in the afternoon.

The S&P 500 index was little changed as of 10:30 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.1% and the Nasdaq composite was barely higher. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks was up 0.1%.

The Federal Reserve will release the minutes from its July meeting at 2 p.m. Eastern. Investors will be looking for any guidance from the Fed on its policymakers' thoughts on how the U.S. economy is doing coming out of the pandemic as well as any concerns they might have about inflation.

The biggest worry among stock market investors is that the Fed will end its easy money policies earlier than expected to combat inflation, which would put some drag on the U.S. economy in its recovery.

Some Fed officials, citing strong hiring growth and rising inflation, have said that the central bank should start normalizing monetary policy soon. Others argue the Fed needs to see stronger economic data to be sure a recovery is established.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.27% from 1.25% late Tuesday.

Earnings season is winding down, with retailers being among the last industries to report. Lowe's rose 4% after the home improvement company reported results that were better than expected. It also gave an upbeat forecast. That's in contrast to Home Depot, which the day before seemed to indicate a slowing down in sales after the do-it-yourself boom in the pandemic.

Companies reporting after the closing bell include chipmaker Nvidia and telecommunications giant Cisco Systems.