Stocks fall after Fed minutes, crypto chaos

Stocks dropped Wednesday for a third straight day as inflation fears kept investors on edge.

By the closing bell: The Dow was down 164 points. The S&P gave up 12. The Nasdaq slipped 3.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve's April meeting were released Wednesday. While policymakers agreed the U.S. economic rebound was a long way from hitting the Fed's goal, a couple of policymakers voiced concern the Fed could be forced to play catch-up if inflation gets too hot.

There was also some discussion about the need "at some point" to begin discussing the removal of extra assistance put in place.

Liz Miller is President of Summit Place Financial Advisors.

"The Fed minutes just added fuel to the fire, and I think that's only because investors are looking for answers to today's data, to the most recent information, and the minutes today are looking back to last month and it feels like such a different time since then. We had the inflation spike at the top line. We had very strong retail data. We had very strong consumer sentiment that doesn't feel like it's being addressed by those minutes."

It was a day of chaos in the cryptocurrency market. Investors dumped cryptos like Bitcoin after China tightened a ban against any transactions by local financial and payment companies. Selling pressure did ease after a cryptic tweet from Tesla CEO Elon Musk was interpreted, by some, as a message of support. Bitcoin, the largest of the digital coins, was down nearly 10 percent late in the day.

On the corporate front: the retail sector continued to produce outstanding results. Target easily smashed quarterly profit and sales forecasts thanks to a surge in apparel sales, a rise in store traffic and a boost in digital sales. It also gave an upbeat sales forecasts for the second-half of the year.