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By Jason Stipp and Jeremy Glaser | 08-20-2015 03:00 PM

Friday Five: Few Answers From the Fed

Plus, a recap of this week's big retail earnings reports.

Jason Stipp: I'm Jason Stipp for Morningstar and welcome to The Friday Five, Morningstar's take on five stories in the market this week. Joining me with The Friday Five is Morningstar markets editor Jeremy Glaser.

Jeremy, thanks for being here.

Jeremy Glaser: You're welcome, Jason.

Stipp: Last week you said the Fed minutes coming out this week probably would not tell you so much. After we got those minutes this week, what are your insights?

Glaser: There wasn't a whole lot of new information in these minutes. The Fed thinks that we are approaching the type of conditions that would make a rate hike seem reasonable. But if those conditions are going to be met in September or in December or maybe in 2016, we just don't know yet.

There seems to be two factions: Some people want to wait until inflation looks a little bit stronger before moving; others think it's important to get the ball rolling on rate hikes to show the market that they are serious about returning to a more normal monetary policy. We just don't know which of these factions is going to win out.

As we've discussed before, the August jobs report is going to be important. It is one of the big pieces of data that the Fed doesn't have yet before they go into their September meeting, and that could be a big factor affecting whether a rate hike happens now or later. But either way, investors shouldn't be too concerned about the exact timing of this rate hike. The Fed is still very much on track to do it. It doesn't seem like they are thinking we should have zero rates for an indeterminate amount of time like they had said before, and I think the exact timing shouldn't be something that stresses you out.

Stipp: Wal-Mart shares sold off after they reported earnings this week. The company is making some big investments. Are any of those investments paying off?

Glaser: They are making investments, both in their labor force through higher wages and also in their e-commerce platform, and that's really weighing on profitability. It's something that the investment community and the stock market is a little bit concerned about, and we've seen the shares sell off because of it.

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