The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed roughly 20 points, after it snapped a 5-day winning streak on Tuesday. The S&P 500 traded near the flatline. The Nasdaq Composite added about 0.2%.
“This is the summer grind,” said Jeff Kilburg, Sanctuary Wealth chief investment officer.
The Fed 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.
“The Fed minutes are always critical and scrutinized, and more importantly, they help illuminate the real sentiment inside of the Fed,” Kilburg said.
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.
Shares of Lowe’s popped after earnings last quarter topped expectations, with higher sales to home professionals.
Target shares pulled back slightly 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.
Meanwhile, Pfizer shared gained and Moderna’s stock traded off its lows after the U.S. announced it will begin distributing Covid-19 booster shots next month. New data show vaccine protection wanes over time, top U.S. health officials said.
The booster shot announcement comes as the highly contagious delta variant spreads, weighing on investor sentiment about the pace of economic reopening.
“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.
Read More: Dow, S&P 500 are flat ahead of Fed minutes