* S&P 500 down about 2 pct for the week so far
* Wal-Mart falls after results, Target edges higher
* Jobless claims spike, investors see impact of storm
* Indexes: Dow falls 0.2 pct, S&P falls 0.1 pct, Nasdaq
falls 0.3 pct
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, Nov 15 The S&P 500 was on track to
fall for a third day on Thursday as Wal-Mart Stores Inc reported
disappointing results and investors feared the "fiscal cliff"
will harm the economy.
Stocks have struggled recently to hold onto even slight
gains, dropping more than 1 percent on Wednesday after starting
the session higher.
Investors worry the economy could slip into recession if no
deal is reached in Washington to avoid the fiscal cliff - budget
cuts and tax hikes that begin to take effect in the new year.
The S&P 500 is off about 2 percent for the week so far.
"Presently, investors are grappling with over-arching market
issues, such as fears about the looming 'fiscal cliff,' as well
as typical seasonal issues such as year-end portfolio
repositioning," said Melissa Roberts, lead analyst at
quantitative research of Keefe Bruyette & Woods in New York.
"Individual stock performance is now more impacted by
overall market performance and broad macro issues rather than
Investors will closely watch for any clues coming out of
Friday's meeting at the White House between President Barack
Obama and Republican and Democratic leaders of Congress over
"In terms of the market, all eyes now are on the
congressional meeting tomorrow with the White House," said Peter
Boockvar, managing director at Miller Tabak & Co in New York.
"With a very oversold market and bearishness at the
individual investor level at the highest since August 2011, a
bounce is due if there is any positive commentary in that
meeting," he added.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 29.07
points, or 0.23 percent, at 12,541.88. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was down 1.69 points, or 0.12 percent, at 1,353.80.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 9.54 points, or 0.34
percent, at 2,837.27.
The benchmark S&P 500 index closed on Wednesday at the
lowest level since July 25, while the Dow and Nasdaq ended at
their lowest since late June. Since the Nov. 6 election the S&P
500 is down about 5 percent.
Wal-Mart fell 4 percent to $68.50 after reporting
third-quarter revenue that missed expectations. The world's
largest retailer said economic conditions were weighing on
customers' spending decisions.
Apple Inc shares also weighed on the market,
falling 1 percent to $531.85 and down about 24 percent since
But retailer Target Corp rose 1.5 percent to $62.32
after it reported a profit that beat expectations.
Despite the recent decline, the S&P 500 is up 7.5 percent
so far this year, though at its 2012 peak the benchmark index
was up about 17 percent.
Weekly jobless benefits claims spiked last week, reflecting
the impact of superstorm Sandy. The storm also hurt economic
activity in the mid-Atlantic states. The Philadelphia Federal
Reserve Bank's business activity index for last month fell more
than expected, sending stocks lower.
The index is one of the early indicators of a national
manufacturing report later from the Institute for Supply
NetApp Inc surged 10.7 percent to $30.04 a day
after reporting adjusted second-quarter earnings that beat
expectations and forecasting a strong current quarter.