US STOCKS-Wall Street pares gains after Fed minutes

Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:50pm EDT

Related Topics

* Investors eye Jackson Hole meeting of central bankers

* Lowe's, Target shares rebound; American Eagle rallies

* Hertz tumbles after withdrawing forecast

* Dow up 0.17 pct, S&P up 0.08 pct, Nasdaq down 0.09 pct (Updates to afternoon)

By Akane Otani

NEW YORK, Aug 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks slightly pared gains on Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve's July meeting showed the central bank remains accommodative but may hike interest rates sooner depending on the economy's rebound.

The minutes came after a two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee in July, where the Fed trimmed its monthly bond-buying program by an additional $10 billion.

Stocks were mixed, with the S&P 500 within 8 points of its all-time high and the Nasdaq Composite slightly retreating from gains earlier in the day.

"I don't think there were really any surprises in the minutes, or that the markets are reacting meaningfully to them," said Carin Pai, executive vice president and director of equity management at Fiduciary Trust in New York.

Investors are more concerned with the upcoming annual meeting of top central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, that will take place from Thursday through Saturday, Pai said. There, Yellen is expected to acknowledge that while economic data has generally been supportive, she remains concerned about the labor market.

"There's going to be a little more color coming out Friday," Pai said.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 24.9 points, or 0.15 percent, to 16,944.49. The S&P 500 was up 1.14 points, or 0.06 percent, to 1,982.74. The Nasdaq Composite fell 4.68 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,522.83.

Lowe's Cos Inc was up 2.2 percent at $52.64, rebounding from a session low of $49.71. The world's No. 2 home improvement products retailer reported better-than-expected second-quarter results but cut its full-year sales forecast.

Fellow retailer Target Corp rose 2.5 percent to $60.72, shaking off initial declines after second-quarter earnings fell shy of analysts' estimates and the company cut its full-year outlook.

Despite some tepid numbers from retailers, the S&P retail index gained 1.1 percent and was on track for its fifth gain in six sessions.

Lowe's and Target have "specific issues as opposed to representing what is going on in the broader retail market," said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

American Eagle Outfitters was a bright spot in the retail sector after second-quarter results beat expectations and it forecast third-quarter earnings in line with the current estimate. Its shares jumped 10.8 percent to $12.84.

On the downside, Hertz Global Holdings tumbled 9.9 percent to $28.43. The rental car company withdrew its full-year financial forecast and said it expects 2014 results "well below" its previous guidance due to business challenges and costs. (Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)

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