Stocks were little changed on Wednesday as data showing the economy unexpectedly contracted in the fourth quarter was offset by upbeat parts of the report and strong results from Boeing and Amazon.

Economists stressed that the 0.1 percent contraction in U.S. gross domestic product, caused partly by a plunge in government spending and lower business inventories, is not an indicator of recession.

"Inventories came down and that subtraction is actually positive for the private sector," said Jim Russell, chief equity strategist for U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Cincinnati.

"A lot of the important components going forth are there, like consumption by individuals and capital spending, and they are looking strong."