S&P, Dow falter after six days of gains as Walmart weighs

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(Reuters) – A steep fall in Walmart’s shares put the skids on the S&P 500 and the Dow’s six-day winning streak, but gains in Amazon and technology stocks kept the Nasdaq in positive territory. The world’s biggest brick-and-mortar retailer (WMT.N) reported a lower-than-expected profit and posted a sharp drop in online sales growth during the holiday period. Its shares fell 10 percent, putting them on track to record their worst day in more than two years. Other retailers including Target (TGT.N), Kroger (KR.N) and Costco Wholesale (COST.O) fell between 1.3 percent and 3.7 percent, dragging the S&P consumer staples .SPLRCS index down 2.15 percent. Amazon shares (AMZN.O) were up more than 1 percent. “We had a really good last week and it is just a bit of a risk down today and certainly Walmart didn’t help matters much,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago. At 11:06 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 0.53 percent at 25,084.68 and the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.19 percent to trade at 2,727.15. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC rose 0.39 percent to 7,268.05, with support from tech heavyweights Apple (AAPL.O), Nvidia (NVDA.O) and Microsoft (MSFT.O). The S&P 500 racked up its biggest weekly increase in five years last week, easing fears that a deeper market correction was taking hold after a handful of large daily losses at the start of February. The spark for those declines was a rise in U.S. bond yields. The benchmark 10-year Treasury bond yields US1OYT=RR were hovering at four-year highs of 2.8987 percent on Tuesday ahead of this week’s deluge of $258 billion of government debt supply. Wall Street’s fear gauge, the CBOE volatility index .VIX, also edged up to 20.48, slightly above Friday’s close of 19.46, but way off the 50 points it hit during the peak of the sell-off. Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, led by losses in consumer staples and utilities .SPLRCU. Home Depot (HD.N) rose 1.7 percent after the largest U.S. home improvement chain’s quarterly profit beat market estimates in an improving housing market. Qualcomm (QCOM.O) fell nearly 4 percent after the chipmaker raised its offer to buy NXP Semiconductors NV (NXPI.O) to $127.50 per share from $110. NXP shares rose 6.2 percent. Snapchat operator Snap (SNAP.N) slid 3.7 percent after Citigroup downgraded the stock to “sell”, arguing negative reviews on an app redesign might lead to a decline in users. Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,668 to 1,146. On the Nasdaq, 1,637 issues fell and 1,175 advanced. Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham and Anil D’SilvaOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Source: Reuters