Stocks Fall Ahead of Release of Fed Minutes

U.S. stocks opened lower on Wednesday ahead of the release of the latest minutes from the Federal Reserve. The Dow industrials lately were down 13.98 points, or 0.09%, at 14,989.01. The S&P 500 index shed 1.45 points, or 0.09%, to 1,650.90. The Nasdaq
Composite was up 2.86 points, or 0.08%, to 3,616.45.

Target Corp (TGT) warned on Wednesday its annual profit was likely to be near the low end of its forecast as it anticipates continued cautious consumer spending, the latest retailer to signal U.S. shoppers were holding back. The company earned $611 million, or 95 cents per share, in the fiscal second quarter ended August 3, down from $704 million, or $1.06 per share, a
year earlier.

Staples Inc.’s (NASDAQ:SPLS) fiscal second-quarter earnings slumped 15% as the office-supply giant continued to be pressured by weak sales abroad, while North American retail sales also declined. Staples lowered its view for the year, now expecting
sales to decline in the low single digits and per-share earnings to be $1.21 to $1.25. For the quarter ended Aug. 3, Staples posted a profit of $102.5 million, or 16 cents a share, versus a year-ago profit of $120.4 million, or 18 cents a share, a
share. Sales fell 2.2% to $5.31 billion.

Lowe’s Cos Inc (LOW) reported a bigger-than-expected rise in quarterly profit and sales as the housing market’s recovery encouraged Americans to spend more on their homes, prompting the No. 2 home improvement chain to boost its fiscal-year outlook. Lowe’s sales at stores open at least a year rose 9.6 percent in the second quarter ended on August 2 but trailed the 10.7 percent increase at Home Depot.

Facebook Inc’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has enlisted Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Qualcomm Inc and four other companies for a project aimed at bringing Internet access to people around the world who cannot afford it, following efforts by Google
Inc.

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