Stock futures were little changed on Wednesday morning as investors awaited more clarity on interest rates from the Federal Reserve.
S&P 500 futures were down 0.1%, and Dow Jones Industrial Average futures and Nasdaq futures were flat.
Wall Street returned from the long holiday weekend on Tuesday with enough energy to push stocks to new records for their second session in a row. The Dow has notched records for the past eight sessions.
The central bank will release minutes from its Jan. 31-Feb. 1 meeting on Wednesday afternoon. The release will likely confirm a recent switch in rhetoric among Fed members in signaling that the U.S. economy is heating up and that it must act soon. The minutes could also signal the likelihood of a move on interest rates in March.
"The Fed meets next in March, and if three rate hikes are to happen this year, as the Fed has signaled they may, then the March meeting must certainly be considered 'live'," said David Joy, Ameriprise chief market strategist, in a note. "If the March meeting is not considered 'live' that implies the possibility of three rate hikes being squeezed into the final seven months of the year, something the Fed would likely hope to avoid for fear of creating the impression that in its own mind it had fallen behind the inflation curve."
The earnings season barrels on this week with a particular focus on the retail sector. Walmart (WMT - Get Report) , Macy's (M - Get Report) , and Home Depot (HD - Get Report) each reported better-than-expected profit on Tuesday, and Gap (GPS - Get Report) , J.C. Penney (JCP - Get Report) , and Foot Locker (FL - Get Report) are set to report later in the week. More than four-fifths of S&P 500 companies have reported their earnings so far this season with 66% of those exceeding earnings estimates and 53% surpassing sales consensus.
TJX Cos. (TJX - Get Report) , which owns TJ Maxx, narrowly beat profit and sales estimates over its fourth quarter. Earnings of $1.03 a share crept higher from 99 cents in the year-ago quarter and exceeded consensus of $1. Revenue of $9.47 billion beat estimates of $9.44 billion. Same-store sales rose by 3%, topping expectations of 2.5% growth. The retailer also said it plans to repurchase at least $1.3 billion worth of shares over this fiscal year.
Toll Brothers (TOL - Get Report) reported strong growth in contracts as the housing market continued to show strength. New contracts increased by 14%, while deliveries increased by 12% over the year earlier. Toll ended its quarter with a backlog 19% higher than a year earlier, sitting at $4.35 billion. Toll also announced a new quarterly dividend of 8 cents a share, payable on April 28.
Dish Networks (DISH - Get Report) swung to a profit in its recent quarter from a loss in the year-ago quarter. Earnings of 70 cents a share were far better than a loss of 27 cents a year earlier, and bested consensus by 4 cents. Dish reported 28,000 more net Pay-TV subscribers over the quarter. The stock gained 2.3% in premarket trading on Wednesday.
Argos Therapeutics (ARGS) moved sharply lower on Wednesday on poor results from a study into a cancer treatment. The drugmaker said an independent review into a Phase 3 trial of its renal cell carcinoma treatment be discontinued for lack of results. The study's primary endpoint had been overall survival.
Unilever (UL) shares traded sharply higher in London Wednesday after the consumer products company issued a statement saying it would review options to enhance shareholder value after rejecting a $143 billion offer from Kraft Heinz (KHC - Get Report) .