US STOCKS-Wall St near even in volatile trade after Fed minutes
* Target, Lowe's fall after profit forecast cuts
* Indexes: Dow up 0.01 pct, S&P up 0.04 pct, Nasdaq down 0.1 pct (Updates following release of Fed minutes)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
Aug 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were near flat in volatile trade Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting showed some voting members expect an interest rate hike will be needed soon but also general agreement that more data is needed first.
Indexes briefly extended slight losses before recovering.
"I don't think anything in these minutes supports a quicker rate increase and again, I think that they're data dependent still," said Chris Gaffney, president of Everbank World Markets in St. Louis.
The Fed left rates unchanged at its last meeting in July but said near-term risks to the economy had diminished, leaving the door open for a possible rate hike this year.
At 2:07 p.m. (1807 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 2.71 points, or 0.01 percent, to 18,554.73, the S&P 500 had gained 0.04 points to 2,178.19 and the Nasdaq Composite had dropped 7.31 points, or 0.14 percent, to 5,219.80.
On Tuesday, New York Fed President William Dudley said a rate hike as soon as September was possible given evidence of wage gains and a tighter labor market.
Poor results from big retailers Target and Lowe's also hurt investor sentiment.
Wall Street has been trading at record highs in the past few weeks, partly supported by expectations the Fed will continue to keep rates low. (Additional reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and James Dalgleish)
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