August 16, 2017 / 2:04 PM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Wall St opens higher; investors eye Fed minutes

* Fed’s minutes on July policy meeting expected at 1400 ET

* Target jumps after strong results

* Indexes up: Dow 0.21 pct, S&P 0.19 pct, Nasdaq 0.18 pct (Updates to open)

By Sruthi Shankar

Aug 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks opened higher on Wednesday morning ahead of the latest Federal Reserve’s minutes, which will offer investors clues on future interest rake hikes this year.

The central bank will release the details of the July policy meeting at 1400 ET (1800 GMT).

Policymakers unanimously decided to keep interest rates unchanged in the July 25-26 meeting and said they planned to reduce the central bank’s massive holdings of bonds “relatively soon”.

“Investors are looking at expectations of rates going up, but not right away, in a measured pace,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital. “I don’t believe the Fed’s going to bring any shocking news to investors.”

A slide in inflation readings in recent months, which remain below the Fed’s 2 percent target rate, have made the markets skeptical about a rate hike by December.

However, recent hawkish comments by New York Fed chief William Dudley advocating for another rate hike this year and strong retail sales data on Tuesday have upped the odds.

Chances of a December hike rose to 49.2 percent, up from 42 percent at the start of the week, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

At 9:39 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 46.94 points, or 0.21 percent, at 22,045.93 and the S&P 500 was up 4.79 points, or 0.19 percent, at 2,469.40.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 11.22 points, or 0.18 percent, at 6,344.23.

Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher with material index’s 0.46 percent rise leading the advancers.

Data showed that U.S. homebuilding unexpectedly fell in July as the construction of single- and multi-family homes declined.

The Commerce Department said housing starts declined 4.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.16 million units.

Shares of Target rose 1.2 percent after the company’s profit and same-store sales beat estimates.

Urban Outfitters rose 21.64 percent after the apparel retailer reported quarterly profit and sales that beat estimates, leading to multiple price target raises.

Amazon was down 0.58 percent after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted the retail giant was doing “great damage” to tax paying retailers.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,920 to 587. On the Nasdaq, 1,525 issues rose and 660 fell.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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