Stocks traded flat to slightly higher on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve acknowledged the sluggish pace of the U.S. economic recovery, but provided no clues about any additional plans for stimulus measures.

Stocks showed little movement after the Fed said the recovery was proceeding more slowly than it had expected, though it was primarily because of temporary factors.

We seem to be in this in-between world economically where it's not clear things are slowing, and it's certainly not clear things are improving, said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in New York.

That is a step that people want to see -- either acknowledgment by the Fed that things are getting much better or worse -- or some actual economic numbers that do that. Statements that they are going to maintain the course don't really say much about where we are headed.

Economic bellwether FedEx Corp rose 3.4 percent to $92.13, lending support to the market after the shipping group reported strong fourth-quarter profit and forecast robust 2012 earnings.

The Dow Jones Transportation average <.DJT> gained 0.9 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 4.88 points, or 0.04 percent, to 12,194.89. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 1.37 points, or 0.11 percent, to 1,296.89. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 2.20 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,689.46.

Adobe Systems Inc slumped 5.1 percent to $30.37 a day after the software maker reported a 54 percent jump in quarterly profit, but warned of weakness in European demand.

Net short positions by hedge funds on the S&P 500 have risen recently, according to Societe Generale cross-asset research.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Jan Paschal)