(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock
markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)
* U.S. retail sales flat in July; core sales rise
* Retailer Target's quarterly profit slumps
* Indexes down: Dow 0.1%, S&P 500 0.2%, Nasdaq 0.6%
NEW YORK, Aug 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks sharply pared
losses in afternoon trading on Wednesday after minutes from the
Federal Reserve's July meeting showed officials said the pace of
future interest rates hikes would depend on incoming data.
Major indexes had been solidly lower ahead of the release of
the minutes, with growth shares coming under pressure after bond
yields climbed and as weak results from Target weighed
The minutes also showed that participants at the session
said it may take longer than anticipated for inflation to
The Fed has lifted its benchmark overnight interest rate by
225 points this year, and the central bank is widely expected to
hike rates next month by either 50 or 75 basis points.
"They stayed hawkish, but they also opened the door perhaps
for a half of a percentage point hike in September as opposed to
75," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan
Capital Securities in New York.
"I believe the market liked what they said," he said. "The
market has rallied from the low end of the trading range today."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 29.3 points, or
0.09%, to 34,122.71, the S&P 500 lost 9.41 points, or
0.22%, to 4,295.79 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped
75.67 points, or 0.58%, to 13,026.88.
The energy sector was higher in afternoon trading,
along with staples and real estate, while the rest of the major
S&P 500 sectors were lower.
After a brutal first-half of the year, stocks are up since
the start of July. Upbeat corporate earnings have helped fuel a
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a
3.36-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.58-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 4 new 52-week highs and 29 new lows; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 30 new highs and 50 new lows.
(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Additional reporting by
Bansari Mayur Kamdar, Devik Jain and Sruthi Shankar in
Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Grant McCool)