August 21, 2019 / 11:42 AM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Futures gain on upbeat Target, Lowe's earnings; Fed minutes eyed

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* Futures up: Dow 0.65%, S&P 0.73%, Nasdaq 0.85%

By Medha Singh

Aug 21 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Wednesday as upbeat earnings reports from retailers Lowe's and Target reflected robust consumer demand, helping ease some concerns around slowing economic growth.

Shares of home improvement chain Lowe's Cos Inc rose 10.5% in premarket trading as it joined bigger rival Home Depot in beating profit estimates.

Big-box retailer Target Corp surged 13.4% after it beat quarterly same-store sales and profit estimates.

The centerpiece for the day will be the release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve's July meeting, when it cut interest rates for the first time in more than a decade.

U.S.-China trade tensions have taken a turn for the worse since the Fed's move, adding to economic risks and putting in focus Chair Jerome Powell's speech at Jackson Hole on Friday. His remarks will be scrutinized for clues on what more policymakers are planning to boost growth.

The three main Wall Street indexes closed lower on Tuesday following a three-day rebound, which was driven by signs that major economies were considering stimulus to boost growth.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump said his administration was looking at cuts to payroll and capital gains taxes, a week after the U.S. yield curve inverted, which is widely viewed as a harbinger of a recession.

"Fundamentally you see concerns about the slowdown, but you have global central banks aiming to unleash stimulus and that is helping sentiment," said Rabobank analyst Bas Van Geffen.

At 6:58 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 169 points, or 0.65%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 21.25 points, or 0.73% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 65.25 points, or 0.85%.

Interest-rate sensitive bank stocks were up after a slide in the previous session. Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley gained between 0.6% and 1.2%.

Data from National Association of Realtors at 10:00 a.m. ET is expected to show existing home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million units in July, from 5.27 million units a month earlier. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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