* TJX Cos, Best Buy shares rise after results
* Investors looking to Fed minutes due Wednesday
* Indexes: Dow off 0.05 pct; S&P up 0.38 pct, Nasdaq up 0.68
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Aug 20 The S&P 500 bounced on Tuesday
to end a four-day losing skid, as earnings from Best Buy and TJX
Cos helped buoy retailers and consumer discretionary stocks.
TJX Cos was the top boost to the S&P 500 after the
owner of the discount T.J. Maxx and Marshalls chains reported
better-than-expected quarterly sales, bucking a trend of weak
results by a number of retailers. Its shares gained 6.9 percent
The S&P retail index climbed 1.2 percent while the
S&P consumer discretionary index rose 0.9 percent as
the best performing of the 10 major S&P sectors.
But U.S. Treasuries yields, although down from Monday, were
still at two-year highs, encouraging investors to dump riskier
assets like stocks to buy U.S. government debt. The yield on the
benchmark 10-year note dipped to as low as 2.80
percent on Tuesday from 2.88 percent in the prior session.
Along with TJX, Best Buy and J.C. Penney also rose after
they posted results. Consumer-focused shares had recently been
battered as retailers that reported earnings earlier in the
period had disappointed investors.
"Last week you got horrible numbers out of the retailers, so
again it's a mixed bag - Nordstrom and Macy's are not Home Depot
and Best Buy," said Ken Polcari, Director of the NYSE floor
division at O'Neil Securities in New York.
Investors have been grappling with uncertainty over when the
Federal Reserve might begin to wind down its stimulus measures.
On Wednesday, they will be able to study the minutes from the
U.S. central bank's July meeting, which may provide clues about
policymakers' plans for so-called quantitative easing.
"There is no real drive, there is no real commitment, there
is no one rushing out to buy stocks, because they don't have to.
The people are going to wait until tomorrow and Thursday at
least before they make any big decision," said Polcari.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 7.75 points or
0.05 percent, to 15,002.99, the S&P 500 gained 6.29
points or 0.38 percent, to 1,652.35 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 24.504 points or 0.68 percent, to 3,613.59.
The S&P was unable to hold gains above its 50-day moving
average, closing for a third straight session below the 1,657.65
level, which now serves as a technical resistance point.
But the Dow edged lower to extend its longest losing streak
of the year to five sessions, weighed down by Home Depot.
Shares in the world's largest home improvement chain gave up
early gains to close down 1.2 percent to $74.29 despite boosting
its yearly outlook. However, the stock is still up more than 20
percent for the year.
Shares of Best Buy jumped 13.2 percent to $34.80
after the world's largest consumer electronics chain reported a
higher quarterly profit.
Urban Outfitters shares climbed 8.2 percent $43.19
a day after the apparel retailer's quarterly profit beat market
J.C. Penney shares advanced 6 percent to $14.01
after the troubled retailer said the back-to-school season has
so far been encouraging.
But Barnes & Noble shares tumbled more than 12
percent to $14.61 after the book retailer reported a steeper
quarterly loss and its founder dropped his plan to buy the
Volume was light with about 5.24 billion shares traded on
the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE MKT and Nasdaq, below the
year's daily average of 6.31 billion.
Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by
2,327 to 714, while on the Nasdaq, advancers beat decliners
1,857 to 662.