* China exports miss expectations
* Minutes from Fed's June meeting due
* Family Dollar rises after earnings
* Indexes up: Dow 0.11 pct, S&P 0.04 pct, Nasdaq 0.23 pct
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, July 10 U.S. stocks were flat on
Wednesday, stalling after a four-day rally ahead of the release
of minutes from the Federal Reserve's June meeting.
The minutes from the June 18-19 meeting of the U.S. Federal
Open Market Committee will be released at 2:00 p.m. EDT (1800
GMT), and perused by investors for any signs of the central
bank's plan to trim its bond buying program.
"Folks will definitely be focusing on that. If nothing else
it will be a reminder of what we heard a couple of weeks ago
from the Fed in terms of the direction of the quantitative
easing program and (let's) see if we can get any additional
insights into timing of that," said Paul Mangus, head of equity
research and strategy at Wells Fargo Private Bank in Charlotte,
U.S. futures were able to shake off earlier declines after
China warned on Wednesday of a "grim" outlook for trade after
data showed exports fell well short of forecasts but fueled
speculation the China's central bank may ease policy in an
effort to boost growth.
The S&P 500 has risen 2.4 percent over the prior four
sessions, pushing the benchmark index to within 1 percent of its
May 21 all-time closing high of 1,669.16.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 16.44 points,
or 0.11 percent, to 15,316.78. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
added 0.62 points, or 0.04 percent, to 1,652.94. The
Nasdaq Composite Index rose 8.15 points, or 0.23
percent, to 3,512.41.
Family Dollar Stores Inc rose 3.2 percent to $66
after the discount chain posted quarterly earnings.
According to Thomson Reuters data through Wednesday morning,
analysts expect S&P 500 earnings to grow 2.6 percent in the
second quarter from a year ago, while revenue is forecast to
increase 1.5 percent from a year ago.
"Estimates have come down pretty sharply since March so
expectations aren't that high. You may actually have some
positive surprises this quarter because expectations are so
low," said Mangus.
Nabors Industries Ltd fell 4.9 percent to $15.22 as
one of the worst performers on the S&P 500 after the owner of
the world's largest land-drilling rig fleet, warned on Tuesday
that its second-quarter operating profit would fall short of
Fastenal Co slipped 3.1 percent to $45.63 after the
industrial and construction supply company posted second-quarter
earnings that matched Wall Street expectations.
After the close, earnings are expected from fast-food
restaurant operator Yum Brands Inc.
Technology shares were the best performers, up 0.4
percent as Hewlett-Packard Co gained 4 percent to $26.48
following an upgrade to "buy" from "sell" at Citi.
Economic data showed wholesale inventories dropped 0.5
percent during the month, confounding the expectations of
analysts polled by Reuters, who expected an increase of 0.3
percent as sales rose 1.6 percent.