May 18, 2016 - 2:00 PM EDT
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Stocks Forge Ahead by Noon

U.S. stocks traded mostly higher Wednesday, with financials and tech leading, as investors awaited the afternoon release of the Fed minutes.

The Dow Jones Industrials turned positive 24.49 points to 17,554.17. Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase contributed the most to gains in the Dow, while Wal-Mart had the greatest negative impact, trading more than 2.5% lower ahead of its earnings due Thursday morning.

The S&P 500 gained 3.42 points to 2,050.63, with financials leading three sectors higher and consumer staples the greatest laggard.

The NASDAQ Composite gained 25.26 points to 4,741, as Apple climbed more than 1%.

In corporate news, Target reported a lower-than-expected 1.2% increase in comparable sales, while net revenue declined to $16.2 billion U.S., mainly due to the sale of pharmacy and clinic business to CVS Health. Target fell more than 9.5% in morning trade.

In other earnings news, Staples beat slightly on the top and bottom line, but North American same-store sales were down 4% a bigger drop than the 3.1% drop analysts had expected. Shares turned lower in midday trade.

Lowe's reported earnings and revenue above expectations, and the same-store sales increase of 7.3% was well above the consensus estimate of a 4.4% rise. Shares rose 3.5% in midday trade.

Hormel posted earnings a touch above expectations, while revenue was essentially in-line. The food manufacturer also raised its full-year earnings forecast. Shares fell 9% in midday trade.

U.S. crude oil futures traded higher after the Energy Information Administration's weekly inventory data showed a 1.3-million-barrel build in crude, while other fuel stockpiles declined.

Prices for the 10-year Treasury dropped sharply, raising yields to 1.82% from Tuesday's 1.76%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 30 cents a barrel to $48.62 U.S.

Gold prices doffed $6.99 to $1,271.96 U.S. an ounce.

Source: Livemoney (May 18, 2016 - 2:00 PM EDT)

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