US STOCKS-Dow, S&P 500 edge down after Fed minutes

Reuters

* Many analysts still don't expect Fed to taper this year

* October core retail sales exceed forecast, show demandpicking up

* Dow down 0.2 pct, S&P 500 down 0.1 pct, Nasdaq up 0.02 pct

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Nov 20 (Reuters) - The Dow and S&P 500 dipped onWednesday after minutes from a Federal Reserve policy meetingsaid the central bank could start to slow bond purchases at oneof its next few meetings if the economy improved enough.

The Nasdaq also briefly traded lower following the releaseof the minutes, while Treasuries yields rose.

Commenting on the minutes from last month's Fed meeting,some analysts said they still don't expect the Fed to beginscaling back its stimulus plan before the end of this year butthat possibly the Fed could take action in March.

"We take these minutes as meaning March is the most likelyscenario for tapering," said Michael Woolfolk, senior currencystrategist at BNY Mellon in New York. "There's no overwhelmingcase to be made for them to act in December."

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 26.65points, or 0.17 percent, at 15,940.38. The Standard & Poor's 500Index was down 1.78 points, or 0.10 percent, at 1,786.09.The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.91 point, or 0.02percent, at 3,932.46.

In a snapshot of the economy provided by data on Wednesday,October retail sales, excluding automobiles, gasoline andbuilding materials, or so-called core retail sales, rose 0.5percent, exceeding expectations. The figure shows demand ispicking up.

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