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US: S&P 500 streak ends in choppy session; Dow at record

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Wall Street stocks finished mixed on Tuesday in a choppy session following disappointing Walmart earnings and a pullback in many petroleum stocks.

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks finished mixed on Tuesday in a choppy session following disappointing Walmart earnings and a pullback in many petroleum stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 13.51 points (0.07 per cent) at 18,312.39, striking an all-time high for the second day in a row.

But the broad-based S&P 500 slipped 1.37 (0.06 per cent) to 2,127.83, ending a three-day streak of record closing peaks, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 8.41 (0.17 per cent) to 5,070.03.

US housing starts leaped 20.2 per cent in April to an annual rate of 1,135,000 units, the best level of new home construction since November 2007.

Dow member Wal-Mart Stores fell 4.4 per cent after reporting a seven per cent decline to US$3.3 billion in earnings for its fiscal first quarter ending April 30. The results translated into US$1.03 per share, a penny shy of analyst expectations.

Many petroleum-linked stocks tumbled following a big retreat in oil prices, including Anadarko Petroleum (-1.7 per cent), Halliburton (-3.5 per cent) and Transocean (-5.9 per cent).

Dow member JPMorgan Chase rose 0.9 per cent after 61 per cent of shareholders endorsed the company's controversial US$20 million compensation package for chief executive Jamie Dimon. Shareholder advisory groups ISS and Glass Lewis opposed the plan as poorly linked to bank performance.

Other banks also rose, including Bank of America (+1.6 per cent), Citigroup (+1.2 per cent) and Morgan Stanley (+0.9 per cent).

Dow member Home Depot fell 1.7 per cent despite reporting a 14.5 per cent jump in first-quarter net income to US$1.6 billion. The home improvement retailer lifted its profit forecast after comparable sales surged 6.1 per cent in the quarter.

Starbucks advanced 0.5 per cent after unveiling a music-streaming partnership with Swedish company Spotify. The collaboration would incorporate Spotify into aspects of Starbucks's loyalty programme.

UPS rose 0.2 per cent after agreeing to a US$25 million settlement with the Justice Department to resolve US charges it broke promises of overnight delivery in government contracts and deliberately hid delays.

UPS said it agreed to the settlement to avoid "costly litigation" and that it disagreed with the government's case.

Urban Outfitters, a youth apparel retailer, dived 15.0 per cent as net income fell 12.5 per cent to US$32.8 million for its fiscal first quarter ending April 30.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.28 per cent from 2.23 per cent Monday, while the 30-year advanced to 3.07 per cent to 3.03 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

AFP