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U.S. housing starts declined more than expected in July, adding to evidence that supply and labor constraints are holding back home construction while demand has slowed.  Residential starts dropped 7% last month to a three-month low 1.53 million annualized rate, according to government data released Wednesday. Building permits, however, climbed 2.6% in July due to a pickup in applications for multifamily dwellings.

The Federal Reserve release the minutes of their last meeting where they indicated they are making plans to pull back the pace of their monthly bond purchases likely before the end of the year.  However, the summary of the July 27-28 Federal Open Market Committee gathering indicated that the central bankers wanted to be clear that the reduction, or tapering, of assets was not a precursor to an imminent rate hike. The minutes noted that “some” members preferred to wait until early in 2022 to start tapering.

Shares in both Target and Lowes are higher after the retailers reported earnings that were better-than-expected.  Both companies also raised their forecast for sales in the second half of the year.

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