By Amruta Khandekar and Shristi Achar A
(Reuters) - The S&P 500 and Dow rose on Wednesday as Target (NYSE: TGT )'s upbeat quarterly profit lifted the retail sector, while investors awaited minutes of the Federal Reserve's July policy meeting for cues on the central bank's interest rate path.
Target shares gained 3% after the big-box retailer's second-quarter profit beat estimates, dwarfing its annual forecast cut.
Shares of TJX Companies (NYSE: TJX ) rose 4.6% after the off-price retailer raised its fiscal 2024 outlook.
The S&P 500 consumer staples index added 0.5%.
Energy shares led sectoral gains, rising 0.6% as Chevron (NYSE: CVX ) advanced 1.3% after Mizuho upgraded its rating.
Equities have been going through a rough patch in August, with the S&P 500 languishing near one-month lows as data underscoring sticky inflation and a robust economy has fanned fears of interest rates staying elevated for longer.
While investors largely expect the Fed's monetary tightening to be nearing its end, worries linger the central bank could hold rates at the current level for longer.
Traders' bets of a rate hike pause in September stand at nearly 89%, according to CME Group's (NASDAQ: CME ) Fedwatch tool.
"Our economists believe that rates will be cut in the beginning of 2024, but the worry is that maybe the Fed will keep rates higher for longer in order to ensure that inflation is coming down," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research.
The Federal Reserve's July 25-26 meeting minutes are due at 1400 ET (1800 GMT). The central bank had raised rates by 25 basis points at the end of the meeting.
"The Fed is almost finished — that is what the market is desperate for. There is a push pull between the hawks and the doves," said Quincy Krosby, chief global strategist at LPL Financial.
Also helping equities, the yield on 10-year Treasury notes eased from a session high of 4.235% following stronger-than-expected industrial production data for July.
Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA ) edged up 0.5%, gaining for a third session in a row after two more brokerages raised their price targets on the stock ahead of the chip designer's quarterly results next week.
Keeping the Nasdaq under pressure, Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA ) slid 1.8% after the electric-car maker cut prices for its premium Model S and Model X cars in China by more than 6%.
At 11:36 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 100.60 points, or 0.29%, at 35,046.99, the S&P 500 was up 4.54 points, or 0.10%, at 4,442.40, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 33.35 points, or 0.24%, at 13,597.70.
Among other stocks, U.S.-listed shares of Tower Semiconductor dropped 8.5%, after Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) terminated its plans to acquire the Israeli contract chipmaker.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.09-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.44-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded four new 52-week highs and 13 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 27 new highs and 169 new lows.
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