December 22, 2014
Retail stocks lead selloff on Wall Street after earnings
US stocks fell in a broad selloff, with major indexes hitting session lows in afternoon trading, led by losses in the retail sector after disappointing results from Staples and TJX Companies.
All 10 primary S&P 500 sector indexes fell, and nearly three-fourths of Nasdaq-listed names were down for the day.
The S&P 500's top five decliners were all retail stocks, including TJX Cos Inc, down 7.6 percent at $53.95, after the owner of off-price chain stores TJ Maxx and Marshalls reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue.
Staples Inc tumbled 12.6 percent to $11.71 after the office supply retailer posted first-quarter earnings and forecast a decline in sales in the current quarter. The S&P retail index fell 1 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 137.55 points or 0.83 percent, to end at 16,374.31. The S&P 500 dropped 12.25 points or 0.65 percent, to finish at 1,872.83. The Nasdaq Composite slid 28.92 points or 0.70 percent, to close at 4,096.89.
Equities have pulled back more than 1 percent since the Dow and the S&P 500 hit record closing highs on May 13 as investors look for signs confirming an acceleration in the US economy that many had hoped to see at this point in the year.
For the fourth straight session, the number of Nasdaq-listed companies hitting 52-week lows - 55 - exceeded the number hitting 52-week highs - 38. More than two-thirds of stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange declined.
Small-cap stocks fell after gaining for the past two sessions, with the Russell 2000 off 1.5 percent, far outpacing the S&P 500's 0.7 percent decline.
The S&P small-cap index fell 1.4 percent, with fewer than 30 of the index's 600 components higher for the day.
European shares also inched lower, held back by Vodafone after the world's second-largest mobile network operator reported 6.6 billion pounds ($11 billion) in impairment costs.
Vodafone shed 5.5 percent, making it the biggest faller on the FTSEurofirst 300, after writing down the value of some of its European businesses citing fierce competition and regulatory changes in Europe.
"The writedowns across several European regions are further proof of the challenges the company is facing, with underlying profit continuing to move in the wrong direction," said Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index, which last week hit a six-year high of 1,372.81, closed down 0.1 percent at 1,357.00 points.
Asian shares slipped despite a solid performance on Wall Street, while the dollar wallowed close to its lowest level against the yen in more than three months.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped about 0.3 percent. But Japan's benchmark Nikkei stock average bucked the downtrend and tracked overnight gains on Wall Street, ending up 0.5 percent and breaking a four-session losing streak.