Wall Street stocks fell early Wednesday ahead of the release of Federal Reserve meeting minutes that could shed light on the central bank's plans for lifting interest rates.
About 30 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 17,366.03, down 145.31 points (0.83 percent).
The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 15.18 (0.72 percent) to 2,081.74, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 35.00 (0.69 percent) at 5,024.35.
The Fed minutes, scheduled for release at 1800 GMT, will be scrutinized for signs of when the central bank will begin hiking benchmark interest rates, expected this year.
However, the July meeting took place before China unexpectedly devalued its currency and at a time when oil prices were 13 percent higher than they are today, said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare.
"The major risk with the minutes today is that they will be over-analyzed and subject to accusations that (what) was said then may not necessarily apply now," he said.
Big-box retailer Target jumped 4.2 percent after lifting its full-year earnings forecast to $4.60-$4.75 per share from $4.50-$4.65 following a second quarter that bested the company's projections.
Home-improvement retailer Lowe's added 0.3 percent as second-quarter earnings rose 8.4 percent to $1.1 billion.
Staples, an office-products retailer, fell 0.5 percent on second-quarter earnings of $36 million, down 56 percent from the year-ago period.
Metals producers Freeport-McMoRan and Southern Copper fell 1.2 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, one day after copper prices dropped below $5,000 a metric ton for the first time since 2009.
Bond prices dipped. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.21 percent from 2.20 percent Tuesday, while the 30-year advanced to 2.88 percent from 2.86 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.