It was largely a day of anticipation for investors, who anxiously awaited the Federal Reserve's June meeting minutes to gain insight into the likelihood of further stimulus. Once the minutes were released, disappointed investors spurred a small sell-off on the S&P 500
Overall, the tone of the minutes hinted at a poor economic environment, but not quite bad enough for the Fed to provide stimulus moving forward. Terms like "weaker than expected" and "slower growth" littered the report, and Secretary William English raised the issue of the continued high unemployment rate. None of the points introduced new storylines per se, other than the notion that stimulus is not imminent. Investors, however, seemed to get over their initial disappointment by the end of the day to push the index back to flat.
One peripheral storyline that could weigh down agriculture-related stocks emerged: The U.S. Department of Agriculture declared a drought affecting 26 states today. The lower crop supply pushed crop prices higher and will increase costs for a wide range of food companies. The news punished Dean Foods
Another major storyline, of course, is the beginning of earnings season. As with earlier this week, surprise revisions made ripples throughout several industries. After hhgregg
A few companies did manage productive days, though. Abercrombie & Fitch soared more than 4% after news leaked that the retailer plans to buy back a number of shares while scaling back European expansion plans. Mead Johnson Nutrition
How investors should react
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