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Overnight Markets: Disappointing Walmart results weigh on Wall Street

Overnight Markets: Disappointing Walmart results weigh on Wall Street

The Dow and S&P 500 declined on Tuesday to snap a six-session winning streak, with retailers falling especially hard following disappointing results from Walmart, but gains in Amazon and chip stocks helped the Nasdaq hold near the unchanged mark.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 255 points, or 1.01%, to 24,965, the S&P 500 lost 16 points, or 0.58%, to 2,716 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped five points, or 0.07%, to 7,234.

One of the biggest drags on the day was Walmart Inc. which tumbled 10% in the wake of its quarterly results. The world’s biggest brick-and-mortar retailer, reported a lower-than-expected profit and posted a sharp drop in online sales growth during the holiday period.

Other grocery retailers also headed south, with Target, off 3% and Kroger down 4.2%. The S&P consumer staples index fell 2.25% and is down nearly 5% for the year.

“The basic framework in terms of the economic landscape and earnings have not really changed, although clearly Walmart has driven some fear into the market,” said Peter Kenny, senior market strategist at Global Markets Advisory Group, in New York.

In contrast, shares of online retailer Amazon climbed 1.4%. The S&P technology index rose 0.3% as the sole major S&P sector on the plus side, buoyed by a gain of nearly 2% in the semiconductor sector.

Qualcomm fell 1.3% after the chipmaker raised its offer to buy NXP Semiconductors NV to $127.50 per share from $110. NXP shares jumped 5.96%.

Home Depot edged down 0.14% after the largest US home improvement chain’s quarterly profit beat market estimates in an improving housing market.

Investors kept an eye on a rising dollar and climbing bond yields, both of which could make equities less attractive at current levels.

In Asia, shares were relatively subdued early on Wednesday, with regional indexes notching slight gains despite the softer lead from Wall Street.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 0.36% after falling more than 1% in the last session. Meanwhile, the Kospi slipped 0.05% after trading in positive territory earlier in the morning.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 hovered around the flat line as investors focused on earnings releases. Over in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index rose 0.42% in early trade. Markets in China remain closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

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