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Target earnings; NAFTA talks begin; Stocks swing up

Posted August 16

1. Retail doom & gloom?: Wall Street is on alert for more trouble in the retail sector after bleak quarterly earnings from Coach and Dick's Sporting Goods Tuesday.

Target posts results Wednesday ahead of the open. The discount giant continues to face intense pressure from competitors including Amazon and Walmart.

Victoria's Secret parent firm -- L Brands -- is releasing results after the closing bell.

It's not all bad news, however. Shares in Urban Outfitters are set to surge at the open after the retailer reported better-than-expected results on Tuesday evening.

Looking further ahead, Walmart and Gap are reporting results on Thursday.

2. NAFTA talks kick off: The Trump administration is scheduled to begin renegotiating NAFTA -- the North American Free Trade Agreement -- with Mexico and Canada on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

President Trump has vowed to get a better deal for Americans and wants to cut the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico.

During his campaign for the White House, Trump called NAFTA "the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere, but certainly ever signed in this country."

About 14 million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Canada and Mexico, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

3. Stock market overview: Stock markets around the world are looking perky on Wednesday.

U.S. stock futures are pointing up. Many European markets are rising by nearly 1% in early trading. Asian markets ended the day with mixed results.

This comes after a lackluster Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average was flat while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq dipped 0.1%.

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4. Economics: The Federal Reserve is releasing the minutes from its latest policy-setting meeting at 2 p.m. ET. Investors closely watch these minutes for insight into the central bank's plans for interest rates.

The Census Bureau will release its July report on housing starts at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Across the pond, unemployment in the U.K. continues to fall, down to 4.4% according to official statistics released Wednesday. That's the lowest level of unemployment in the country since 1975. But people's earnings are still being squeezed as inflation outpaces wage growth.

5. Lottery time: If you're feeling unsure about your stock picking abilities, there's a Powerball drawing at 11 pm ET for a prize estimated to be worth $430 million.

The Powerball prize pool has been building since June 10. But the odds of winning this lottery are extremely low -- just one in 292 million.

Download CNN MoneyStream for up-to-the-minute market data and news

6. Coming this week:

Wednesday -- NAFTA talks begin; Target and Cisco earnings Thursday -- Walmart and Gap earnings Friday -- University of Michigan releases consumer confidence report for August

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