US stocks edge up as market eyes low Fed rates

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Aug 17, 2016.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Aug 17, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks edged higher Wednesday (Aug 17) as minutes from the Federal Reserve boosted expectations the US central bank was not likely to hike rates in September.

The minutes from the July meeting showed policy makers believed risks to the US economy had lessened but wanted to keep their interest rate policy “options open.”

“Market expectations for a rate hike in September are still low, and this committee tends to be cautious,” said Sara Johnson and Ozlem Yaylaci, economists at IHS Markit.

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.1 per cent to 18,573.94.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.2 per cent at 2,182.22, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced less than 0.1 per cent to 5,228.66.

Big-box retailer Target slumped 6.5 per cent as it slashed its forecast for the remainder of 2016, citing a “difficult” retail environment.

Lowe’s, a home-improvement retailer, dropped 5.7 per cent as analysts said same-store sales growth of 2 per cent in the second quarter lagged expectations.

Youth-oriented apparel retailer Urban Outfitters surged 15.4 per cent after reporting that second-quarter net income jumped 15.1 per cent to US$76.9 million (S$103 million).

Cisco Systems dropped 5.7 per cent following a report that it planned deep staff layoffs. The networking giant announced after market closed that it plans to eliminate 5,500 positions.