S&P ends down as Fed minutes fail to halt decline

STORY: The S&P 500 extended its losing streak to four sessions Wednesday as Wall Street closed broadly down. Traders remain cautious despite the latest guidance on rate policy from the U.S. central bank showing few surprises.

The Dow fell about a quarter of one percent, the S&P dropped a little less than that and the Nasdaq actually closed up a tenth.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve's January 31st to February 1st meeting said that "almost all" Fed officials agreed to slow the pace of increases in interest rates to a quarter of a percentage point going forward.

Despite agreement on that front-- Liz Miller, president and founder of Summit Place Financial Advisors -- said the fed minutes ALSO pointed to uncertainty, especially when it comes to threat of recession.

“To me, some of the interesting things were the focus that there was pretty much widespread agreement that there isn't much clarity to trends this year. That no one's real sure if we will go into a recession, will we avoid a recession where strength is coming from. So you know, the experts on the committee are struggling to get some clarity, just as the economists and investors are.”

Most of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors fell, with energy and real estate the poorest performers. The energy index has finished lower for seven straight sessions, as commodity prices have come under pressure from investor concerns over future economic growth and fuel demand.