Futures almost a standstill ahead of Fed minutes

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock futures are almost at a standstill as markets await any hint of changes in Fed thinking within the minutes from its July economic policy meeting later this week.

However, the rout for retailers continued Monday, as Saks put up some disappointing results for its most recent quarter.

Company shares slipped in premarket trading.

Dow Jones industrial futures are down 7 points to 15,031. S&P futures have lost 1.3 points to 1,649.80. Nasdaq futures are up 2 points to 3,071.75.

Minutes from the late July meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee are due Wednesday, and everyone wants to know more about the central bank’s intentions regarding its economic stimulus program.

They will also be watching the annual conference of the U.S. Federal Reserve, which begins later in the week at Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Saks released its financial report a day early and like Wal-Mart, Macy’s and Nordstrom last week, disappointed Wall Street.

Saks’ loss of $19.6 million was even deeper than analysts had expected.

There has been almost no good news coming out of the retail sector during the crucial back-to-school shopping season. Wal-Mart, Macy’s and Nordstrom last week cut their outlooks for the year.

Saks is not holding a conference call because it’s being acquired by Hudson’s Bay, and it gave no outlook.

J.C. Penney, Target, Gap, Home Depot, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Staples and Sears all report quarterly results this week.

Retail shares were mostly lower before the opening bell.

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