Stocks fell on Wednesday as investors mulled on the Federal Reserve’s meeting minutes, which indicated that policymakers were intensifying talks on starting the reduction of its asset-buying program.

The minutes of the Fed’s meeting has added to a deluge of mixed economic and business earnings reports, all of which impacted market confidence. The Commerce Department’s poor data on U.S. retail sales was a significant cause of worry for stock traders, with sales falling 1.1 percent in July against the anticipated 0.3 percent decrease. 

Last month, housing also began to drop a lot worse than anticipated, marking the worst monthly fall since April. Sales have also lessened among retailers from Home Depot (HD) to Target (TGT) in comparison to the previous year. It seemed to validate traders’ fears that economic activity and profit growth would continue their downward route.

However, despite market concerns, especially amidst the new Delta variant and changing policies, many strategists have remained optimistic about the road ahead for stocks.

Details of FOMC minutes

2:00 p.m. ET: In the July meeting minutes, Fed officials maintain their transitory stance on price spikes.

Federal Reserve officials reiterated their belief that recent price rises and pressures on impending inflation are temporary and would eventually pass. They have also indicated that the timing of their asset purchases would be heavily affected by the speed of the labor market’s continuing recovery. Some authorities have identified the Delta variation as a possible complicating element in the rate of economic recovery.

10:38 a.m. ET: The Biden administration’s top medical experts announced last Wednesday that they are proposing the booster for COVID-19 vaccination injections to help improve the Americans’ protection against COVID variants.

The booster injection is the third dose of the vaccine, which shall be given eight months after the patients had their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. The administration of these dosages is expected to commence in the last week of September. However, the Food and Drug Administration would still review the proposal for safety and effectiveness.

Meanwhile, officials are currently awaiting data to decide what particular measures are to be taken for individuals who got the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccination. However, they have indicated that they would most certainly need further doses. 

At 8:46 a.m. ET:  In July, recent homebuilding activities have dropped considerably more than anticipated due to material shortages and labor constraints, which slowed the totality of activities on the housing market. 

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday that housing had dropped  to7.0 percent in July. It is the worst monthly decline since April. Furthermore, it was affirmed by Bloomberg’s statistics, as their consensus analysts expected a 2.6 percent drop. 

On the other hand, building permits came in sooner than anticipated, indicating a future increase in homebuilding. It increased at a monthly rate of 2.6 percent, which was more than twice the expected rate. It follows after the 5.3 percent decrease of the previous month.

7:28 a.m. ET: Lowe’s beats Q2 profit and sales projections and have increased their guidance even with a downturn in home improvement

LOW shares rose in pre-market trading after exceeding second-quarter profits and sales forecasts and expanding its full-year projection despite customer’s continuous demand for home improvement projects moderated from the previous year’s high.

According to Bloomberg consensus statistics, adjusted earnings per share of $4.25 were higher than the $4.01 anticipated. Even while comparable sales dropped at 1.6 percent and went negative compared to the 34.2 percent growth rate recorded last year, the result was better-than-expected, with analysts expecting a 1.9 percent decrease in same-store sales. Lowe’s also increased its full-year revenue estimate, saying it is projected to bring in approximately $92 billion in sales, or a 30 percent increase incomparable in the next two years.

7:15 a.m. ET: Target (TGT) reported second-quarter sales and earnings that went above the projections, but shares have begun dropping in the pre-market session as the previous report has disappointed investors who are into more significant beats.

According to Bloomberg statistics, the company reported a comparable same-store sales increase of 8.9 percent, higher than the 8.2 percent rate expected by experts. However, this was a substantial decrease from the 24.3 percent increase in the same quarter last year, when stay-in-place orders were at an all-time high in the United States, and consumers flocked to one-stop big-box shops in droves.

Compared to a 195% increase the same time the previous year,  digital sales have increased by 10%.

Even with the onslaught of the new Delta variant among consumers, which affected their mood and spending, Target still offered an optimistic comment on the second part of the year.