5 issues it is best to know earlier than the inventory market opens on Wednesday August 18th

Here are the key news, trends, and analysis investors need to start their trading day:

1. Futures are flat in front of real estate data, Fed logs

Traders work on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, USA, 17 August 2021.

Andrew Kelly | Reuters

US stock futures were flat on Wednesday as traders waited for key real estate data and a summary of the Federal Reserve’s recent meeting. S&P 500 futures were down about 1 point while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down 46 points, or 0.1%. Nasdaq 100 futures only climbed 0.2%. Wednesday’s moves come a day after the 30-share Dow fell 282 points while the S&P 500 posted its largest daily loss since July 19th.

The US home starts and planning permission data for July will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. According to the Dow Jones, economists expect housing starts to decline 3.2% to 1.59 million. Building permits are expected at 1.61 million, an increase of 0.8%. The Fed minutes are slated to be released at 2 p.m. ET, and investors will analyze it to look for any clues as to when the central bank might be scaling back its massive stimulus programs.

2. Lowe and Target earnings exceed estimates

A shopper departs after visiting a Lowe hardware store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 4, 2020.

Mark Makela | Reuters

A buyer leaves a Target store in New York on August 15, 2021.

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

3. Palantir charges with gold

Alex Karp, CEO of Palantir, arrives ahead of a “Tech For Good” meeting at the Hotel Marigny in Paris on May 15, 2019 to discuss good behavior for tech giants.

Bertrand Guay | AFP | Getty Images

Palantir did something unusual for a public company: it bought gold. The data analytics software company announced in its most recent quarterly report that it had purchased nearly $ 51 million in 100 ounce gold bars. This move is unusual as shareholders would typically urge a company to use its money on investments, share buybacks, or even a dividend. However, the move could indicate that a company is preparing for economic uncertainty.

4. Evacuations from Afghanistan are picking up speed

Evacuees populate the interior of a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft that is bringing about 640 Afghans to Qatar from Kabul, Afghanistan, August 15, 2021.

Courtesy Defense One | Handout via Reuters

Evacuations from Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport picked up speed as thousands of diplomats and aid workers left the country along with at least several hundred Afghans. The UK government says it brings about 1,000 people out of Afghanistan every day. “We are still bringing out British nationals … and the Afghan nationals who are part of our local program,” UK Home Secretary Priti Patel told the BBC on Wednesday. Reuters, citing an anonymous security officer, reported that more than 2,200 diplomats and civilian workers had been evacuated.

5. TSA extends mask requirement until January

Travelers wait in line at a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint at Orlando International Airport in May 2021.

Paul Hennessy | SOPA pictures | LightRakete | Getty Images

The Transportation Security Administration has expanded a federal requirement for travelers to wear masks on commercial flights, buses, and trains. The mandate, which was due to expire next month, now runs until January 18th. “The purpose of the TSA’s Mask Policy is to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation,” the TSA said in a statement. The mandate will now traditionally cover busy travel times such as Thanksgiving and the December holidays. The mandate is being extended because Covid cases are increasing in the USA due to the highly contagious Delta variant.

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