US: Dow streak ends; retailer shares tumble

[NEW YORK] Shares of retailers tumbled on Tuesday following a gloomy earnings report and outlook from Target as the Dow's streak of record closing highs finally ended.

Target slumped 12.6 per cent after fourth-quarter earnings plunged 42.7 per cent to US$817 million. The big-box retailer also signaled lower-than-expected profits in 2017 due to stepped-up investments in stores and low-priced offerings as it tries to win back customers.

Among companies included in the Dow, rival Wal-Mart Stores was the biggest loser, shedding 1.1 per cent. Other retailers, including Best Buy and Macy's, also fell.

Despite the travails of retailers, data from the Conference Board showed consumer confidence in the US hit a 15-year high in February.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 20,812.58, down 0.1 per cent, ending a streak of 12 straight records.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.3 per cent to 2,363.65, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.6 per cent to 5,825.44.

Analysts were looking ahead to President Donald Trump's first address to Congress later Tuesday.

Mr Trump has said he will boost military spending, while cutting back on social spending programmes. The market is also looking for details from Mr Trump on a tax cut plan, the promise of which has propelled US stocks to record highs since the US presidential election.

Priceline jumped 5.9 per cent as fourth-quarter net income increased 33.6 per cent to US$673.9 million behind higher hotel bookings.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International sank 14.1 per cent on disappointment with the drug company's 2017 earnings forecast.



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