Investing.com -- U.S. stocks are mixed after a slate of reports from major retailers such as Walmart and Target and as investors digested the minutes of the Federal Reserve's meeting in July.
The main equities indices closed lower Wednesday, a second consecutive losing day, with the Nasdaq Composite hit particularly hard, dropping 1.2%, on worries that additional tightening will disproportionately hit the debt-laden tech sector.
Fed minutes hint at future rate hikes
The minutes from the Fed’s July meeting, when the central bank officials decided unanimously to lift rates by 25 basis points, showed that most still saw "significant" upside risks to inflation, a sign that further rate hikes could be needed to slow the economy just as upbeat data forced the central bank to ditch its recession call.
The U.S. central bank is still widely seen standing still at its next policy meeting in September, but expectations are growing that there could be another hike in November as July's meeting came before a raft of U.S. data that underscored the resilient economy.
Walmart in the spotlight
It’s Walmart's (NYSE: WMT ) turn to be in the spotlight Thursday, as it raised its full year guidance.
The world’s biggest retailer is projected to improve its annual earnings guidance for the second time this year, as unlike peers Target (NYSE: TGT ) and Home Depot (NYSE: HD ), Walmart has likely been a beneficiary of a recent pullback in consumer spending on nonessential items.
Cisco optimistic over AI opportunities
Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO ) traded higher nearly 5% after the networking equipment maker’s Chief Executive, Chuck Robbins, talked up market share wins and artificial intelligence opportunities, as he moved to allay fears over slowing growth after a disappointing annual revenue forecast.
Crude helped by U.S. stockpiles draw
Oil prices climbed Thursday, rebounding from two-week lows, helped by a bigger-than-expected draw in U.S. inventories .
However, sentiment remains weak given worries slowing growth in China and a continued hawkish stance from the Federal Reserve will weaken fuel demand in the world's two biggest economies.
Additionally, data from the Energy Information Administration showed that U.S. production hit a new three-year high last week, close to the record-high levels produced before the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.
(Peter Nurse and Oliver Gray contributed to this item.)
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