* Dell slashes full-year outlook, shares slide
* Toll Brothers shares hit 5-1/2 year high
* Fed minutes point to more stimulus
* Indexes down: S&P 0.4 pct, Dow 0.3 pct, Nasdaq 0.1 pct
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Aug 22 U.S. stocks pared losses but
were still modestly lower on Wednesday as minutes from the
latest meeting of the Federal Reserve indicated the central bank
was ready to pull the trigger on another round of stimulus.
Minutes from the July 31-Aug. 1 meeting showed the Fed is
likely to deliver another round of monetary stimulus "fairly
soon" unless the economy improves considerably.
"This is quite a surprise, this announcement, and you are
seeing the market react a bit favorably towards it," said Tim
Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford
Hills, New York.
"It means they are simply waiting, they feel like they have
the firepower. Clearly, at least many Fed officials have stated
they do believe it will benefit the economy and they are ready
to use that firepower if necessary."
Stocks were lower for most of the session after weak export
data from Japan and Greece's meetings this week with European
Union officials gave investors reasons to pull back after the
Japan's exports slumped the most in six months in July as
shipments to Europe and China tumbled, adding to global demand
Uncertainty lingered over the effectiveness of Greek Prime
Minister Antonis Samaras' attempts to convince other European
officials his country should be given more time to meet targets
for deficit cuts.
The S&P 500 hit its highest level in more than four years on
Tuesday but failed to hold peak and the index closed in the red.
However, its steady move higher has lifted short-term support to
the 1,400 level, although the index may need a positive catalyst
to extend the rally.
The Jackson Hole, Wyoming, meeting of central bankers and
economists at the end of the month is seen as possibly the next
big market catalyst, followed by the European Central Bank's
Sept. 6 meeting and the German constitutional court's vote to
ratify the euro zone rescue fund six days later.
Among the most traded U.S. stocks Wednesday was Dell Inc
, down 6.5 percent to $11.54 a day after the No. 2 U.S.
PC maker warned of a challenging second half and slashed its
full-year earnings outlook. The NYSEArca computer hardware index
lost 1.4 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 57.92
points, or 0.44 percent, to 13,145.66. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index lost 3.70 points, or 0.26 percent, to 1,409.47. The
Nasdaq Composite Index fell 3.50 points, or 0.11
percent, to 3,063.76.
Toll Brothers Inc shares rose to their highest since
February 2007 after the largest U.S. luxury homebuilder reported
a higher quarterly profit and a sharp jump in new orders. The
stock was up 4.1 percent at $33.10 and the PHLX housing sector
index added 1.9 percent.
Continuing a string of bullish housing sector data, U.S.
home resales rose in July as low interest rates and a modest
improvement in the labor market helped home buying conditions.
Shares of Sunrise Senior Living surged 59.2 percent
to $14.22 after Health Care REIT Inc said it would
acquire the company for $14.50 per share. Health Care shares
dipped 3.2 percent to $57.82.