Weak results at retailers drag US stocks lower
Dismal earnings from major retailers helped drag U.S. stocks lower in early trading Tuesday. Staples, Dick's Sporting Goods and Urban Outfitters were among the biggest decliners, while Home Depot bucked the trend.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell five points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,879 in the first 45 minutes of trading. The Dow Jones industrial average shed 55 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,456. The Nasdaq composite slid 17 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,108.
RETAIL SWOON: Staples' profit plunged 43 percent; Dick's Sporting goods fell short and pared its outlook; Discount retailer TJX had weak sales; Urban Outfitters reported lower-than-expected earnings as sales at its namesake chain declined.
FIRE SALE: Staples plunged $1.48, or 11 percent, to $11.92 in early trading. Dick's Sporting Goods fell $8.63, or 16 percent, to $44.64. Urban Outfitters slid $2.65, or 7.2 percent, to $33.57. TJX shed $3.45, or 5.9 percent, to $54.94.
HOUSING BET: Home Depot's adjusted earnings and revenue came in short of Wall Street's expectations. Still, a key sales metric improved despite a slow start to the spring home-selling season due to bad weather. The home improvement retailer also raised its full-year earnings forecast. Home Depot's stock rose $1.51, or 2 percent, to $78.
MORE RETAIL TURMOIL: Target fired the president of its troubled Canadian operations and replaced him with insider Mark Schindele, who has been senior vice president of merchandising operations in the U.S. Target fell 99 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $57.30.
OVER THERE: European markets mostly fell. France's CAC 40 fell 0.4 percent and Germany's DAX gave up 0.3 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.7 percent. Thailand's stock market slumped and its currency wobbled after the military declared martial law in what it called an attempt to stabilize the country's precarious political situation.
OTHER MARKETS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged down to 2.53 percent from 2.54 percent late Monday. Gold rose $1.20 to $1,295 an ounce. Crude oil fell to $101.81 a barrel.