Lowe's, Target earnings, retail sales and more: Wednesday's 5 things to know

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Big decline in earnings estimates dissected

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Here are the key events taking place on Wednesday that could impact trading.

A busy week for retail earnings will put extra focus on the government’s July retail sales report.

RETAIL SALES: Economists surveyed by Refinitiv anticipate consumer spending to inch up 0.1% month-over-month, well below June’s stronger-than-expected increase of 1.0%. 

Excluding the automotive component, spending is seen slipping 0.1% in July compared with a 1.0% rise the prior month. Recall that the retail sales data are not adjusted for inflation, so there’s no way to tell if sales are up because more goods were purchased, or because consumers just paid more to cover higher prices.

WALMART CEO: INFLATION LURES MORE HIGHER-INCOME SHOPPERS

Cashier Josepine Silvestre hands a customer back change after a transaction at a Target Corp. store in Colma, California. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

RETAIL EARNINGS: The parade of retail earnings continues Wednesday morning, with home improvement chain Lowe’s and big box department store chain Target in the spotlight. Also watch for numbers from TJX Companies, the parent of off-price department store TJ Maxx, and children’s apparel retailer Children’s Place.

In the afternoon, the focus will turn to computer networking giant and Dow member Cisco Systems. And we’ll hear from specialty retailer Bath & Body Works.

MORE ECONOMY: Another number traders will have an eye on will be June business inventories at 10 a.m. ET.  They’re expected to rise 1.4% on the month, matching May’s increase.

INVENTORIES: The Energy Information Administration will release its inventory report for last week. Crude stockpiles are expected to decrease by 275,000 barrels, following a massive build of 5.458 million barrels the previous week. Watch for a build of 440,000 barrels in distillate supplies (heating oil, diesel fuel), and a draw of about 1.1 million barrels in gasoline inventories. 

An oil pump jack pumps oil in a field. (REUTERS/Todd Korol/File Photo / Reuters Photos)

ELON MUSK SAYS HE WAS JUST JOKING ABOUT BUYING MANCHESTER UNITED

ELON MUSK: The Tesla CEO took to Twitter early Wednesday morning to say he was just joking when he said he was buying the English soccer club Manchester United. 

SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk  (REUTERS/Michele Tantussi / Reuters Photos)

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When asked if he was serious about the purchase, Must replied, "No, this is a long-running joke on Twitter. I'm not buying any sports teams." He did say, however, that if he were to buy a sports team it would be Manchester United because it was his favorite team when he was a kid.

Musk has previously joked about buying other companies including Coca-Cola and McDonald's.

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