The release of the Federal Reserve’s meeting minutes sent the markets into the red on Wednesday despite some solid earnings news from a major home retailer and a report that showed existing home sales rose 6.5% in July over June.
The usual mixed message from the Fed did little to provide any real clues to the timing or amount of the expected fall tapering, but the net result on the day was still a loss across all three major markets.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average led the way down, falling 0.7% to 14,897.55, while the S&P 500 closed down 0.58% at 1642.80. The Nasdaq managed to find some positive gains in mid-afternoon, but ended lower by 0.38% at 3599.79.
On the earnings front, home improvement retailer Lowe’s (LOW) announced that its quarterly earnings rose 26% and beat analyst estimates. Meanwhile, revenue increased by 10%. Lowe’s shares rose nearly 4% on the news and hit a new all-time high.
Office supply retailer Staples (SPLS) saw it shares tumble over 15% after announcing it earned 16 cents per share in the second quarter, below last year’s 18 cents per share. The company also lowered its guidance for the remainder of the year.
Shares of Target (TGT) fell almost 4% on a 13% decline in second-quarter profits due primarily to expansion expenses in Canada. Target’s earnings fell year-over-year and came right in line with analyst expectations, but sales missed the bar.
Solar stocks continued a recent uptick, as Trina Solar (TSL) jumped over 14% after an upgrade to “buy” from “hold” at both Maxim Group and Ardour Capital. TSL helped to carry the sector, with Yingli Energy (YGE, +6.48%), SunPower (SPWR, +5.35%), and Jinko Solar (JKS, +5.13%) all heading higher.
Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) traded down almost 2% on the day in advance of its after-the-bell earnings release … and the bears turned out to be right. The computer-maker announced third-quarter revenues missed analyst estimates and it narrowed its full-year earnings forecast.
Earnings notables for Thursday include Dollar Tree (DLTR) and Gap (GPS).
- Tuesday Morning Corp. (TUES): Up 23.58% ($2.69) to $14.10
- Garmin (GRMN): Up 4.76% ($1.86) to $40.28
- Questcor Pharmaceuticals (QCOR): Up 4.43% ($2.88) to $67.83
- American Eagle (AEO): Down 9.89% ($1.62) to $14.76
- Petsmart (PETM): Down 5.33% ($4.00) to $71.00
- J.C. Penney (JCP): Down 4.85% (68 cents) to $13.32 (Read more here)
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.