STOCKS DO NOTHING AFTER FED MINUTES: Here's what you need to know

Horse sittingOli Scarff/GettyLance Corporal Daniel Evans of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, sits with his lie-down horse, Beatrice, as he is inspected by Talal Al Hashimi of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council in Hyde Park on May 14, 2009 in London, England.

Stocks closed little changed on Wednesday after minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last meeting showed division over whether to raise rates.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 18,547.71, -4.31, (-0.02%)
  • S&P 500: 2,177.88, -0.27, (-0.01%)
  • Nasdaq: 5,219.29, -7.82, (-0.15%)
  • WTI crude oil: $46.79, +$0.21, (0.45%)
  1. The Fed is split over whether to raise interest rates soon. Minutes of the July FOMC meeting showed that some members were emboldened by the labour market’s strength, while others were not convinced by sluggish inflation. They agreed that it was prudent to wait for more, better data before raising rates again. Fed chair Janet Yellen will speak at the annual Jackson Hole symposium on August 26 after skipping last year’s event.
  2. We now know why Aetna ditched Obamacare. On Monday, the health-insurance giant said it was leaving 70% of the counties in which it provided services through the Affordable Care Act’s public healthcare exchanges. A letter to the Department of Justice obtained by the Huffington Post showed on Wednesday that Aetna had threatened this move if its merger with Humana was cancelled. That deal was blocked in July on competition concerns.
  3. Target is preparing for a “challenging environment.” The retailer reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.23 ($1.13 expected) on revenue of $16.19 billion ($16.18 expected.) Apple product sales fell 20% during the quarter, weighing on the electronics category. Walmart reports earnings on Thursday before the market open.
  4. Lowe’s missed on comparable sales. Sales at stores open for more than one year rose 2% (4.1% estimated). It shares fell 5%. CEO Robert Niblock said in the earnings statement that Lowe’s was “well positioned to capitalise on a favourable macroeconomic backdrop for home improvement in the second half of the year.” Lowe’s rival Home Depot on Tuesday reported earnings and sales that were better than expected, and raised its full-year guidance.


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