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S&P 500 in Holding Pattern Ahead of Fed Minutes

Stock MarketsAug 18, 2021 13:54
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By Yasin Ebrahim – The S&P 500 was flat Tuesday, as positive quarterly reports from retailers boosted consumer discretionary stocks ahead of the release of the Federal Reserve's minutes from its July meeting.

The S&P 500 fell 0.2%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.2%, or 60 points, the Nasdaq was up 0.1%.

A slew of retailers including Lowe's and Target reported quarterly results that topped Wall Street expectations, but saw mixed reaction from investors.

Lowe’s Companies (NYSE:LOW) jumped 10% as the home improvement retailer lifted its full-year outlook after reporting quarterly results that topped analysts expectations.

Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT), meanwhile, also delivered quarterly results that beat on the top and bottom lines, but its shares fell 1%.

Krispy Kreme (NASDAQ:DNUT), which made its debut last month, fell 1% after the doughnut chain reported mixed quarterly results as earnings fell short, but revenue beat Wall Street expectations.

Energy stocks, meanwhile, shrugged off intraday losses despite weaker oil prices amid data that showed a larger-than-expected decline in weekly U.S. crude inventories, but an unexpected build in gasoline inventories.  

Crude inventories dropped by 3.234 million barrels last week, compared with analysts' expectations for a draw of 1.055 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

In big tech, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) was in the spotlight after the e-commerce giant reportedly warned certain third-party sellers that antitrust laws approved in June could limit their ability to sell on Amazon.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), and Google-parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) traded mixed.

On the vaccine front, The U.S. government said it plans to make Covid-19 vaccine booster shots widely available starting on Sept. 20 amid concerns over the rising Covid-19 infections.

Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) was lower, while Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE), and BioNTech SE (NASDAQ:BNTX) traded 1% higher and 3% lower, respectively. The boosters would be for those who received the Pfizer or Moderna shots, but not yet for those who received Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)'s one-dose vaccine.

In other news, ViacomCBS and NBCUniversal-parent Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) teamed up on a new streaming service, “SkyShowtime,” expected to launch in Europe next year. ViacomCBS (NASDAQ:VIAC) jumped more than 4%.

Investor attention will shift to monetary policy later as Federal Reserve releases the minutes from its July meeting. The minutes, slated for 2:00 PM ET, are expected to offer fresh clues on whether the Fed is getting close to announcing plans to taper its monthly bond purchases.

S&P 500 in Holding Pattern Ahead of Fed Minutes

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