By Liz Moyer
Investing.com -- Stocks cooled off on Wednesday after minutes of the Federal Reserve's July meeting showed policymakers are still on board with raising interest rates to tame inflation.
The minutes did indicate that the pace of rate hikes, and the accompanying run-off of the balance sheet holdings, could slow at some point if the data show inflation is coming down. The Fed is trying to achieve a "soft landing," which means cooling off the economy without large job losses and a recession.
This week is heavy with retail earnings and housing data, both of which have painted a picture of a slowing consumer. Walmart (NYSE:WMT) even noted that high-income shoppers are on the hunt for bargains in the grocery aisle, helping it to increase its market share in that business. Target (NYSE:TGT), which disappointed on earnings, confirmed its outlook for the rest of the year, saying sharp price discounts to clear out inventory had positioned it well going into the holiday season.
Existing home sales data due out Thursday are expected to show a slow down from the prior reading, which would match the trend in housing starts, which fell to their lowest level since last year. Rising interest rates are choking off demand for mortgages as would-be home buyers move to the sidelines.
Here are three things that could affect markets tomorrow:
1. Existing home sales
The housing market has been on a downtrend, with sales dropping off amid sky-high prices and rising loan rates. Existing home sales for July are expected to fall to 4.89 million annualized, compared with 5.1 million in June. The data are due at 10:00 ET (14:00 GMT).
2. Estee Lauder earnings
Cosmetics giant Estee Lauder Companies Inc (NYSE:EL) is expected to report earnings per share of 33 cents on $3.4 billion in revenue.
3. Applied Materials earnings
Applied Materials Inc (NASDAQ:AMAT) is expected to report EPS of $1.78 on revenue of $6.3 billion.