BY ALEX VEIGA
A steep drop in Walmart’s stock and losses in other sectors pulled U.S. indexes broadly lower Tuesday, placing the market on course to snap a six-day winning streak. A late-afternoon sell-off wiped out early gains by technology companies. Grocery store operators and other consumer-focused companies accounted for much of the drag on the market. Investors were sizing up the latest quarterly earnings and deal news following a long holiday weekend.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 18 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,714 as of 3:32 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 277 points, or 1.1 percent, to 24,941. The Nasdaq lost 12 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,226.
THE QUOTE: “Some of the broader concerns on investors’ minds right now are looking across to the bond market and seeing the 10-year Treasury starting to approach that 3 percent level,” said Bill Northey, vice president at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. He noted that bond yields are rising on concerns of higher inflation, which have been on investors’ minds the past couple of weeks.
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 $10.27, or 9.8 percent, to $94.51. Several big retailers also declined, including Target, which slid $2.07, or 2.8 percent, to $73.01.
FASHIONABLE EXIT: Gap gave up 5.3 percent after the clothing chain said the CEO of the Gap brand will leave the company. Jeff Kirwan, who 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 lost $1.76 to $31.51.
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 $7.09 to $125.60. Qualcomm lost $1.17, or 1.8 percent, to $63.68. Other chipmakers were trading higher as part of a pickup in technology stocks. Nvidia rose $4.06, or 1.7 percent, to $247.90, while Applied Materials gained $1.72, or 3.1 percent, to $56.65.
DRUGSTORE BUY: Rite Aid rose 2.6 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 6 cents to $2.19.
BOND YIELDS: Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury held at 2.88. The yield has been rising in recent months and traded as low as 2.04 percent in September. Higher bond yields indicate investors expect more risk of inflation, and they also can threaten stock prices by making bonds more appealing versus stocks.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 22 cents to settle at $61.90 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 42 cents to close at $65.25 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 107.23 yen from 106.30 yen on Friday. The euro weakened to $1.2337 from $1.2413.
METALS: Gold fell $25, or 1.8 percent, to $1,331.20 an ounce. Silver dropped 27 cents to $16.44 an ounce. Copper slid 6 cents to $3.19 a pound.
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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