Stock market today: Markets on Wall Street hang near record highs as more retailers report earnings

Markets on Wall Street were mixed early Wednesday but remain at or above record levels as more results from retailers take center stage amid a dearth of economic news.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average just barely edged into positive territory, rising less than 0.1% before the bell, while futures for the S&P 500 were down 0.1%.

Target slumped 7% before markets opened after it reported a decline in quarterly revenue and missed industry analysts’ profit expectations. Earlier this week, Target said it was cutting prices on thousands of consumer basics to entice inflation-weary customers looking for deals.

Lululemon, the Canadian yoga and athletic wear company, skidded 4% after it announced it was modifying its organizational structure in conjunction with the departure of its chief product officer.

The week’s headliner is Nvidia, whose stock has rocketed higher amid a frenzy around artificial-intelligence technology. The chipmaker will report its latest quarterly results after the bell Wednesday, and expectations are high. Nvidia shares were flat early at about $954 each, more than six times their value at the opening of 2023.

This week doesn’t have much top-tier economic data, and the biggest potential for sharp moves in the market will likely come from profit reports.

Wednesday’s retail-heavy reporting schedule include results from TJX Cos., Petco and Williams Sonoma.

U.S. indexes have risen to records recently largely on expectations the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates later this year as inflation cools. More reports showing big U.S. companies earning fatter profits than expected have also boosted the market.

Rates for mortgages, credit cards and other payments have become more expensive because the Federal Reserve has been keeping its main interest rate at the highest level in more than two decades. It’s trying to pull off a tightrope walk where it grinds down on the economy just enough through high interest rates to snuff out high inflation but not so much that it causes a painful recession.

Coming later Wednesday is the latest government data on home sales and the release of minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting, where the U.S. central bank left its benchmark borrowing rate alone for the sixth straight time.

Elsewhere, Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.4% after the Office for National Statistics announced a stronger-than-expected inflation reading that dashed hopes for a rate cut in June. Inflation fell to 2.3% in April, down from 3.2% in March. But it remained above the Bank of England’s 2% target.

France’s CAC 40 lost 0.6% at midday, while Germany’s DAX declined 0.5%.

In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.9% to 38,617.10 after Japan reported that its trade deficit rose last month as rising costs for imports outpaced an 8% rise in exports from the year before. The data were weaker than analysts had forecast.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 0.2% to 19,184.85, while the Shanghai Composite index was nearly unchanged at 3,158.54.

In South Korea, the Kospi was virtually unchanged at 2,723.46. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.1% lower to 7,848.10.

Taiwan’s Taiex gained 1.5% as shares in market heavyweight Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. jumped 2.7%.

Markets in Thailand were closed for a holiday.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 53 cents to $78.13 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, declined 55 cents to $82.33 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 156.47 Japanese yen from 156.16 yen. The euro cost $1.0833, down from $1.0854.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 rose 0.3% to 5,321.41 and surpassed its record set last week. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.2% to 16,832.62, a day after setting its latest all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.2% to 39,872.99 and is sitting just below its high set last week.

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