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U.S. stocks down slightly in early trading as Wal-Mart lowers sales forecast

U.S. stocks down slightly in early trading as Wal-Mart lowers sales forecast

Wall Street retreated Wednesday, one day after the Dow Jones industrials set new record highs, as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. raised concerns about the economy by saying its September same-store sales would be lower than forecast.
A muted session after the Dow's new closing and trading highs wasn't surprising _ worries that the economy might be slowing too much have dogged the market, and Wal-Mart, one of the 30 stocks in the blue chip average, is considered a barometer of consumer spending.
Investors were waiting for possible clues about the economy in a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who is scheduled to speak on savings before the Economics Club of Washington.
With little in the way of earnings news, Wall Street has been looking to economic news to determine the strength of the economy. Part of Tuesday's record-setting trading was helped by the market's contention that the Fed could continue to hold off on raising interest rates and that, along with falling oil prices, could help guide the economy to a soft landing.
In the first hour of trading, the Dow fell 5.93, or 0.05 percent to 11,721.89.
Broader stock indicators also fell slightly. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 1.80, or 0.13 percent, at 1,332.31 and the Nasdaq composite index fell 2.67, or 0.12 percent, at 2,240.98.
Bonds rose, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note falling to 4.60 percent from 4.62 percent late Tuesday. The dollar was up against other major currencies, while gold prices were down.
Wal-Mart was down $1.06, or 2.15 percent, at $48.40 after saying its September sales at stores open at least a year, a closely watched measure of retail performance known as same-store sales, rose 1.3 percent, not 1.8 percent as the company had forecast. The world's largest retailer, which plans to release September sales figures Thursday, said it miscalculated when it issued its projection.
Biotechnology company ImClone Systems Inc. rose $1.60, or 5.89 percent, to $28.77 after saying an unidentified international pharmaceutical company was willing to make an all-stock offer of $36 per share for the company. Imclone also criticized financier Carl Icahn for rejecting the bid and advised shareholders to rebuff his efforts to wrest control of the company.
XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. fell 32 cents, or 2.54 percent, to $12.26, after saying it added more than 285,000 subscribers to its satellite radio service, boosting its total base to more than 7.2 million subscribers.
Automakers received Wall Street's attention after Bear Stearns cut its rating on Ford Motor Co. to "Peer Perform" from "Outperform" and upgraded rival General Motors Corp. to "Peer Perform" from "Underperform." Ford was down 4 cents at $8.19, while GM, part of the Dow, was up 30 cents at $33.71.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies was up 0.51, or 0.07 percent, at 718.86.


Updated : 2021-06-17 13:08 GMT+08:00