July 10 - The Dow slipped and the S&P 500 edged up less than a point on Wednesday, interrupting a four-day rally, with investors trying to gauge when the Federal Reserve may scale back on its economic stimulus. Fred Katayama reports.
Fed-obsessed investors initially cheered the minutes from the latest central bank meeting before trimming the gains, helping the S&P 500 narrowly eke out a fifth straight win. The minutes showed that many Fed officials want to see more concrete signs of a jobs recovery before scaling back their big bond buying program that has fueled stocks. Many economists had expected the Fed to begin tapering its stimulus in September, but financial advisor Tom Karsten of Karsten Advisors doesn't see that happening anytime soon. SOUNDBITE: TOM KARSTEN, FINANCIAL ADVISOR, KARSTEN ADVISORS (ENGLISH) SAYING : "Many members, it would appear from the minutes, wanted to see better economic signals before that tapering will begin. I think it confirms what we were looking at, which is there is insufficient economic data to justify a tapering of the stimulus money before the end of the year." Consumers aren't stocking up on discretionary goods at Family Dollar, pushing its third quarter profit lower. But investors went shopping for its stock, driving it up 7 percent, after hearing that the company beat profit estimates and shrank its inventory a bit. Among the biggest losers: Nabors Industries. The world's largest land drilling contractor warned its quarterly operating profits would be a dud. Its stock sank 6 percent. And Wells Fargo shed one-and-a-half percent on a downgrade just two days before it reports its results. Sandler O'Neil says weak loan growth and shrinking refinancing volume could hurt tthe bank's results. After the bell, fast food operator YUM Brands reported profit that beat estimates despite a big sales drop in China. Its stock rose in after hours trading. The trading session in Europe mirrored that of the U.S.. Stocks rising just a tad as investors there get used to the prospect of less help from the Fed.