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Stocks Open Lower on Weak Retailers as Investors Wait for the FOMC Minutes

Major U.S. markets opened lower on weak retail earnings and as investors wait for the Fed Minutes from their last meeting. Americans took advantage of falling interest rates to refinance their homes. The Mortgage Bankers Association's index rose 1.4 percent last week. Refinancing applications climbed 2.7 percent. But the measure of purchase home loans dropped for the third straight week. Shares of American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) opened sharply higher. The company reported second quarter earnings before the bell. The teen retailer posted its profit was down 70 percent from a year ago but that still beat Wall Street's expectations for flat results. Lowe's (LOW) also reported before trading started. The home improvement retailer posted earnings that beat estimates but lowered its guidance. Hertz (HTZ) withdrew its full-year earnings guidance. The rental car company also said its 2014 results will be 'well below' forecasts. The stock is starting the trading day down double digits.