The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 90.27 points, or 0.29 percent, to 31,613.02. The S&P 500 fell 1.26 points, or 0.03 percent, to 3,931.33. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 82.00 points, or 0.58 percent, to 13,965.49.
Eight of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended in green, with energy up 1.45 percent, leading the gainers. Technology slipped 1.03 percent, the worst-performing group.
U.S.-listed Chinese companies traded mostly lower with seven of the top 10 stocks by weight in the S&P U.S. Listed China 50 index ending the day on a downbeat note.
Wall Street sifted through the newly-released meeting minutes from the U.S. central bank.
U.S. Federal Reserve officials broadly agreed that the Fed's easy monetary policy will remain in place for some time, according to the minutes of the Fed's recent policy meeting released Wednesday.
"Participants noted that economic conditions were currently far from the Committee's longer-run goals and that the stance for policy would need to remain accommodative until those goals were achieved," the Fed said in the minutes of its Jan. 26-27 meeting, referring to the Fed's policy-making committee.
The minutes also noted that the COVID-19 pandemic continued to "pose considerable risks" to U.S. economic outlook, including risks associated with new virus strains, and potential difficulties in the production and distribution of vaccines.
On the data front, U.S. retail sales surged 5.3 percent in January, the Department of Commerce said on Wednesday. The reading easily topped a Dow Jones estimate of a 1.2-percent rise.