Technology Companies Rally, Offsetting a Plunge in Walmart

(AP) —

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U.S. stock indexes were mostly higher in midday trading Tuesday as investors sized up earnings from several big companies. Disappointing results sent Walmart into a steep slide, pulling down shares in other major retailers and cutting into gains from a rally in technology stocks. The market, which reopened for business after a long holiday weekend, is coming off a six-day winning streak.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,735 as of 12:09 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 61 points, or 0.2 percent, to 25,157. The Nasdaq gained 52 points, or 0.7 percent, to 7,292. Slightly more stocks were rising than declining on the New York Stock Exchange.

BIG-BOX BUMMER: Walmart shares were on track for their worst loss since October 2015 after the retailer reported fourth-quarter results that missed Wall Street’s expectations as its e-commerce sales in the U.S. slowed. The stock was the biggest decliner in the Dow and S&P 500, shedding $9.50, or 9.1 percent, to $95.28. Several big retailers also declined, including Target, which slid $1.84, or 2.5 percent, to $73.24.

FASHIONABLE EXIT: Gap gave up 3.1 percent after the clothing chain said the CEO of the Gap brand will leave the company. Jeff Kirwan has been with the company since 2004 and has led the namesake brand since the end of 2014. The Gap noted that Kirwan failed to achieve “the operational excellence and accelerated profit growth” that the company expected for the Gap brand. The stock slid $1.02 to $32.25.

HOUSING BOOST: Home Depot rose 1.4 percent after its latest quarterly results beat analyst estimates. The home-improvement giant benefited from strong demand for its wares amid a robust housing market and ongoing hurricane recovery work in the Southeast and Puerto Rico. Its shares added $2.66 to $189.63.

CHIPPER DEAL: NXP Semiconductor jumped 6 percent after Qualcomm raised its offer for the company to $127.50 a share, or $43.22 billion, from $110 a share. The move comes as Broadcom is trying to buy Qualcomm. Shares in NXP added $7.15 to $125.65. Qualcomm lost $1.36, or 2.1 percent, to $63.49. Other chipmakers were trading higher as part of a pickup in technology stocks. Nvidia rose $7.16, or 2.9 percent, to $251, while Applied Materials gained $2.22, or 4 percent, to $57.15.

DRUGSTORE BUY: Rite Aid gained 4 percent after grocery store operator Albertsons agreed to buy more than 2,500 of its stores. Rite Aid agreed to sell almost 2,000 locations to Walgreens last year after a larger deal fell apart. Albertsons owns brands including Safeway. The deal will double the amount of drugstores it owns. Rite Aid’s stock, which has shed more than half its value over the past year, rose 8 cents to $2.22.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.90 percent from 2.88 percent late Friday.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 4 cents to $61.72 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was down 22 cents at $65.45 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 107.19 yen from 106.30 yen on Friday. The euro weakened to $1.2345 from $1.2413.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX rose 0.8 percent, while France’s CAC 40 gained 0.6 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 was flat. Earlier in Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 1 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 inched lower. South Korea’s Kospi lost 1.1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.8 percent. Stocks were mixed in Southeast Asia, while markets in mainland China were still closed for lunar New Year holidays.

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