Mixed results

Walmart reports its first-quarter results Tuesday.

Wall Street expects the retail giant’s earnings increased in the February-April quarter from a year earlier, even as revenue declined.

Walmart has benefited from strong demand during the pandemic as homebound Americans stocked up on groceries and other goods. The company’s profit and sales grew in the 12 months ended in January. But costs have risen as the retailer boosts wages and makes other investments.

Close-up on the Fed

The Federal Reserve issues the minutes from last month’s meeting of policymakers Wednesday.

At the meeting Fed officials said the U.S. economy was quickly strengthening and that inflation was showing signs of picking up. The central bank decided to keep its benchmark short-term interest rate near zero, where it’s been pinned since the pandemic erupted.

The Fed also said it would continue buying $120 billion in bonds each month to try to keep longer-term borrowing rates low.

Low inventory drag?

Economists project that sales of previously occupied U.S. homes slowed in April for the third straight month.

They predict the National Association of Realtors will report Friday that sales slipped to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.98 million annualized units. Sales have been slowing despite the speed at which buyers are pouncing on homes, reflecting surging demand in the face of an ultra-low inventory of homes on the market.

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