November 19, 2019 / 8:15 PM / 18 days ago

US STOCKS-Retail drags on Wall St; Dow falls, S&P holds steady

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* Home Depot, Kohl’s drop on full-year forecast cuts

* AT&T falls on research downgrade, Broadcom gains on upgrade

* Indexes: Dow down 0.33%, S&P up 0.03%, Nasdaq up 0.37% (Updates to late afternoon, adds commentary, changes byline, adds New York dateline)

By Sinéad Carew

New York, Nov 19 (Reuters) - The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell from record levels while the S&P was flat on Tuesday as dour forecasts from retailers Home Depot and Kohl’s fueled worries about consumer spending while uncertainty over the U.S.-China trade dispute simmered in the background.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq was the best-performing of the three indexes, with support from Facebook Inc and Broadcom Inc helping to counter a drag from Qualcomm after the chip maker held an investor meeting.

Home Depot Inc fell 5.2% and was the top drag on the benchmark S&P 500 and blue-chip Dow after the No.1 U.S. home improvement chain cut its 2019 sales forecast for the second time this year.

Kohl’s Corp slumped 19.3% as the department store operator slashed its annual profit forecast after falling short of quarterly comparable sales and earnings estimates.

But Keith Lerner, chief market strategist at SunTrust Advisory Services in Atlanta, said it was too early to panic about the all-important end-of year holiday shopping season.

“Markets are digesting the recent gains and waiting for a little more clarity on the trade side,” said Lerner. “We still think the holiday season will be fine.”

Expectations of a U.S.-China trade deal and a largely better-than-expected third-quarter corporate earnings season have fueled a Wall Street rally over recent weeks, helping all three indexes set record highs.

With less than an hour of trading left in the session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 93.69 points, or 0.33%, to 27,942.53, the S&P 500 gained 0.86 points, or 0.03%, to 3,122.89 and the Nasdaq Composite added 31.63 points, or 0.37%, to 8,581.56.

Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were lower on the day, with the consumer discretionary index’s 0.79% drop weighing most. The S&P 500 retail index fell 1.08%.

The energy sector was the S&P’s biggest percentage decliner as oil prices fell on concerns about excess global supply and limited progress toward resolving the U.S.-China trade dispute, which has clouded the demand outlook.

Investors will also be watching for earnings reports from other retailers, including Lowe’s Cos Inc, Target Corp and Nordstrom Inc later this week.

They will also look for more details on the Fed’s monetary policy stance from Wednesday’s release of the central bank’s minutes from the latest policy meeting, in which it cut interest rates for the third time this year but signaled it may be done with rate easing for now.

AT&T Inc fell 3.9% after MoffettNathanson downgraded the U.S. telecommunications service provider to “sell” from “neutral.”

Chipmaker Broadcom rose 2.5% following a Morgan Stanley upgrade to “overweight” from “equal-weight”.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.09-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.80-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 40 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 102 new highs and 101 new lows. (Additional reporting by Arjun Panchadar and Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva, Sriraj Kalluvila and Dan Grebler)

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