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US stocks reverse gains at the close for a second straight day

Stocks suffered its second straight day of losses to finish a sea of red after a string of weak economic data and poor retail earnings

Federal Reserve building
The S&P 500 continued to trend lower midday Wednesday, down 5 points to 4,442

4.10pm Dow sheds points at the close

US stocks suffered its second straight day of losses to finish a sea of red after a string of weak economic data and poor retail earnings gave investors pause.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.08% to finish at 34,961 points, while the S&P 500 also shed 1.07% to finish at 4,400 points. The Nasdaq fared slightly better, losing 0.89% to finish at 14,526 points.

12:05pm: S&P 500 claws back some of previous sessions losses

The S&P 500 continued to trend lower midday Wednesday, down 5 points to 4,442. The index faced headwinds in the morning session following Tuesday’s weakest performance in a month.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was also in the red but on track to regain losses made after hitting an all-time high on Monday. By lunch the index had shed 39 points since the morning bell to sit at 35,304.

Investors remained cautious after consumer data out of China and the US was weaker than expected earlier in the week. This sentiment has been further exacerbated by mixed-retail earnings and uncertainty around the Federal Reserve release later today.

“US markets remain cautious ahead of tonight’s Fed minutes, the key event in an otherwise dull August week,” Chris Beauchamp, Chief Market Analyst at IG wrote in a Wednesday note.

“The losses of the past two days have been stemmed for the time being, with the Nasdaq 100 back above 15,000 and the Dow and S&P 500 both stabilising after the small drop yesterday. After such a quiet few weeks even yesterday’s losses seemed dramatic by comparison, but in reality it is merely a summer stumble that illustrates how quiet things are for most traders.” 

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9.55am: US stocks start in the red

US indices started lower in early deals midweek as traders awaited the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's July policy meeting.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost over 87 points at 35,258, while the S&P 500 shed around seven points to stand at 4,440.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq index fell around 16 points at 14,639.

Yesterday on Wall Street saw the end of five days of consecutive record closes.

On the corporate front, top S&P 500 gainer was home improvement retailing giant Lowes, which saw shares shoot up as its second quarter earnings beat estimates.

The firm posted earnings per share (EPS) of $4.25 in the three months compared to $4.01 expected, while revenue was $27.57 billion against expectations for $26.85 billion.

Shares in New York added more than 8% in New York to $197.01.

6.30am: US stocks seen turning lower

US stocks are expected to turn lower again on Wednesday, extending the previous session's retreat from recent record highs as investors await the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s July policy meeting.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were 0.2% lower, while S&P 500 futures also shed 0.2%, and those for the tech-laden Nasdaq-100 fell 0.1%.

The notes from the latest Fed meeting, due at 2.00pm ET, will offer more indications of when the US central bank may begin scaling back easy-money policies that were adopted at the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic after some recent benign economic data.

Wednesday will bring US housing starts data, due at 8.30am, which are forecast to show that new-home construction cooled in July. Builders have ramped up activity in response to robust demand, but have run up against rising prices for materials and difficulty attracting enough workers.

On the corporate front, ahead of the opening bell, retailers Lowe’s and Target are among those due to report quarterly earnings, while Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) and Nvidia are set to post earnings after the market close.

Five other things to watch on Wednesday:

Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said on Tuesday that it remains unclear whether the heightened outbreak of the coronavirus Delta variant will have a noticeable impact on the economy.

Lowe's forecast full-year sales above estimates as a rise in spending from builders and handymen getting back to housing projects helped offset some of the slowdown in demand from its do-it-yourself customers.

Danish brewer Carlsberg raised its full-year earnings guidance after reporting second-quarter sales above expectations as beer volumes exceeded pre-pandemic levels.

Binance has appointed a former US Treasury criminal investigator as its global money laundering reporting officer, part of an attempt by one of the world's largest crypto exchanges to reinvent itself as a regulated financial firm.

T-Mobile US Inc (NASDAQ:TMUS) said an ongoing investigation into a cyberattack on its systems revealed that some personal data of about 7.8 million of its current postpaid customers were compromised.

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