U.S. stock indexes closed lower Wednesday as investors digested minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting which suggested the central bank could begin tapering its asset purchases this year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 382 points, or 1.07%, while the S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite index declined 1.07% and 0.89%, respectively. The selling in the Dow and the S&P 500 pushed both indexes lower for a second day.
Minutes from the Fed’s July meeting showed most participants believed it “could be appropriate to start reducing the pace of asset purchases this year.”
In stocks, Target Corp. reported earnings and revenue that exceeded Wall Street estimates as back-to-school shopping bolstered results. The big-box retailer, which saw a sharp slowdown in digital sales growth, raised its comparable sales forecast for the second half of the year and announced a new $15 billion share repurchase program.
Lowe’s Companies Inc. forecast full-year revenue above analyst estimates as customers splurged on big-ticket items amid slowing demand for do-it-yourself projects. Quarterly earnings and revenue were ahead of expectations.
Krispy Kreme Inc. beat on both the top and bottom lines and said its drive-thru business and new menu items would help cushion the blow from the delta variant.
Nvidia Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and Robinhood Global Markets Inc. are among the companies set to release their quarterly results after Wednesday’s closing bell.
Elsewhere, T-Mobile USA Inc. said hackers accessed the personal information of more than 40 million former, existing and prospective customers.
Homebuilders fell after the Commerce Department said housing starts in July fell 7% to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1.534 million. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting 1.6 million starts.
In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil lost $1.13 to $65.46 a barrel and gold fell $3.40 to $1,781.60 an ounce.
Overseas markets were mixed.
European bourses were mostly lower with France’s CAC 40 down 0.73%, Britain’s FTSE 100 sliding 0.16% and Germany’s DAX 30 rising 0.28%.
In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.47% while Japan’s Nikkei 225 and China’s Shanghai Composite advanced 0.59% and 1.11%, respectively.