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Stocks fall...Target cuts outlook...Lowe's misses 2Q forecasts, cuts profit outlook



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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are lower in early trading on Wall Street, with phone companies and utilities taking the biggest losses. Target and Lowe's both fell after cutting their profit outlooks, while Urban Outfitters jumped on solid sales. The Federal Reserve releases the minutes from its latest meeting this afternoon.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Today's release of notes from the July meeting of Federal Reserve policymakers should provide some insight into the debate over when to raise rates. One member of the policy-making board previously said it was premature to rule out further increases this year, while another member has said there could be two hikes in 2016.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Target has cut its profit and comparable-store sales outlook. The discount retailer now expects earnings this year in the range of $4.80 to $5.20, lower than the $5.20 to $5.40 it had projected earlier. And it says same-stores sales could fall as much as 2 percent in the second half of the year. Target's second-quarter net income fell nearly 10 percent, though that was better than what most had expected. Sales at stores open at least a year fell 1.1 percent, reversing seven straight quarters of gains.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Lowe's is reporting weak sales growth at existing stores and a second-quarter profit that was short of most expectations. Sales at stores open at least a year rose 2 percent, less than half the 4.2 percent industry analysts had projected. The home-improvement chain is also trimming its profit expectations for the year. The report comes a day after Lowe's rival Home Depot posted record second-quarter sales and earnings and raised its profit expectations for the year.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Railroad Administration says many commuter and freight railroads have made little progress installing safety technology mandated by Congress. The technology uses digital radio communications, GPS and signals alongside tracks to monitor train positions. It can automatically stop or slow trains to prevent them from disobeying signals, derailing due to excessive speed, colliding with another train or entering track that is off-limits. Railroads have until the end of 2018 to install the technology, a deadline Congress has already extended once.

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The Associated Press

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