Summary: Hewlett Packard's surprise revenue jump; Stocks mostly higher after Fed minutes release; Hertz shares get hit hard after warning; Target cuts forecast. Bobbi Rebell reports.
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U.S. stocks were mostly higher on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 closing just shy of a new record after minutes from the Fed's July meeting showed the central bank remains accomodative but could hike interest rates sooner, depending on the economy's rebound.
Reuters' Jason Lange:
SOUNDBITE: JASON LANGE, REUTERS CORRESPONDENT (ENGLISH) SAYING:
"Policymakers acknowledged that the economy and specifically the labor market has been improving faster than they expected. At the same time, they want to see more evidence of this economic strength before making up their minds on this. Now, Janet Yellen is due to give a speech at Jackson Hole on Friday and the topic is likely to be the labor market, and we'll be looking for any signs of her views and how that might shift our thinking about when the Fed will hike rates. "
Hewlett-Packard posted a surprise increase in quarterly revenue. The company has been working through an internal overhaul aimed at cutting costs and re-orienting the huge computing company.
Hertz shares hit hard. The rental company pulled its full-year outlook late on Tuesday saying its 2014 results would be well below guidance. Hertz used the very vague term "business challenges". One example- a shortage of cars. More than a quarter of its fleet comes from General Motors, which has recalled almost 26 million vehicles so far this year.
Separately, filings show Carl Icahn has taken an 8-1/2 percent stake in Hertz. The activist investor saying he believes the shares are undervalued- and has a lack of confidence in management.
Target cut its full-year profit forecast, after reporting a 62 percent drop in second-quarter profit. The retailer has had to cut prices to appeal to cash-strapped shoppers, who are also still wary after the massive holiday season data breach.
Lowe's lowering its sales forecast for the year- saying it simply couldn't make up the business it lost during the harsh winter. The number two home improvement chain- behind Home Depot- reported better-than-expected second-quarter revenue.
Staples quarterly profits beat forecasts- thanks to strong demand for non-core office supplies- like furniture.
And teen apparel retailer American Eagle turned in better-than-expected second quarter profits.
In Europe, shares dipped after a two-day rally.