U.S. stock indexes were flat Wednesday as investors awaited the release of the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting minutes for insights into when the central bank may start removing stimulus.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed roughly 10 points, after it snapped a 5-day winning streak on Tuesday. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite traded near the flatline.
The Federal Reserve publishes its meeting minutes from its July gathering at 2 p.m. ET. Market participants will be looking for clues about when the central bank could start dialing back its monthly bond buying program.
Since that July meeting, there’s been growing support within the Fed to announce a tapering in September and begin it in October. The 10-year Treasury yield inched slightly higher to around 1.27% on Wednesday ahead of the release.
Elsewhere, housing starts fell 7% in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.534 million units, well below economists’ expectations.
“The stock market is way overdue for a correction. Covid cases continue to spike higher darkening economic reopenings, consumer data shockingly has collapsed recently. …Several stocks have stopped reacting positively to good earnings, inflation reports remain hot, and Federal Reserve taper talk is everywhere,” Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group, said.
Investors also waded through more earnings reports from major retailers Tuesday.
Shares of Lowe’s popped more than 8% after earnings last quarter topped expectations, with higher sales to home professionals.
Meanwhile, Target shares pulled back even after beating on second-quarter earnings. The retailer’s profit and revenue topped expectations and the company raised its forecast for the second half of the year, citing a good start to back-to-school spending. Target shares were up 44% this year through Tuesday, so some investors may be taking profits.