U.S. futures were holding relatively flat as the Federal Open Market Committee prepares to issue the minutes from its previous month's meeting. Meanwhile, crude oil prices were declining. Both West Texas Intermediate and Brent Crude Oil were down about 0.5%.
European markets were all showing small losses with a few hours left until the close. The Asian markets finished mixed, led by Japan's Nikkei, which gained 0.9%.
Lowe's Cos. (LOW) shares were dropping by more than 5% in early trading after its latest quarterly results missed Wall Street's expectations. Earnings of $1.37 per share were well below analysts' estimates of $1.42 per share. Sales of $18.3 billion for the period also missed forecasts of $18.4 billion. Same-store sales rose 2%, falling short of estimates for a 4.1% increase. The home improvement retailer cut its full-year outlook to $4.06 per share from $4.11 per share.
"We believe we are well positioned to capitalize on a favorable macroeconomic backdrop for home improvement in the second half of this year as we continue to execute on our strategic priorities to provide better omni-channel experiences, deepen our relationships with professional customers, and drive productivity and profitability," said CEO Robert Niblock in a statement.
Shares of Target (TGT) were also down by more than 4% before the bell after providing a downbeat forecast for the second half of the year. Earnings of $1.23 per share beat estimates of $1.13. Revenue of $16.17 billion was relatively in line with analysts' predictions. The company slashed its profit outlook and same-store sales amid stiffer competition. Target now expects earnings to be in the range of $4.80 and $5.20, which is lower than the previous forecast of $5.20 to $5.40. Same-store sales could fall as much as 2% in the second-half of the year.
"Although we are planning for a challenging environment in the back half of the year, we believe we have the right strategy to restore traffic and sales growth over time," said CEO Brian Cornell in a statement.
Cisco Systems (CSCO) shares were slipping slightly after reportedly planning to lay off thousands of employees. Cisco is laying off upward of 14,000 employees, or nearly 20% of the workforce, CRN first reported. The cuts stem from the networking giant's transition from its hardware roots into a software-centric organization, according to CRN.
The news comes ahead of Cisco's latest earnings report. Analysts are forecasting earnings of $0.60 on revenue of $12.57 billion. Analysts with Jefferies increased their price target to $35 from $30.75 while maintaining their Buy rating on the stock. In a research note Wednesday, the analyst team wrote that they believe any headcount reduction at Cisco would be driven by its natural re-organization of the business, adding, "our analysis shows that reductions in headcount aren't necessarily a negative for Cisco's share price performance." (Cisco is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS portfolio).
Finally, shares Urban Outfitters (URBN) soared by more than 12% in premarket trading after posting better-than-expected quarterly results Tuesday evening. Earnings of $0.66 per share beat analysts' forecasts by $0.09, while revenue of $890.6 million also topped Wall Street's expectations of $886.8 million. CEO Richard Hayne said in a statement that these results were "driven by a positive Retail segment 'comp' and substantial improvement in merchandise margins."