Stocks cut early losses and the S&P briefly turned positive on Wednesday, helped by strong results from economic bellwether FedEx Corp .

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 18.81 points, or 0.15 percent, at 12,171.20. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> dipped 0.54 points, or 0.04 percent, at 1,294.98. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> took off 3.23 points, or 0.12 percent, at 2,684.03.

Shares of FedEx rose 3 percent to $91.84.

Investors were cautious, waiting to see the direction the Federal Reserve would take to deal with renewed weakness in the economy.

The Fed is holding a policy meeting Wednesday, followed by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's news conference. A statement from the Federal Open Market Committee is due at 12:30 p.m. EDT (1630 GMT), with Bernanke's press conference at 2:15 p.m. EDT.

(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica)