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US: Stocks end flat; some retailers tumble

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks finished little changed on Tuesday as solid retail sales data offset ugly share price declines from some retail chains that reported disappointing earnings.

Strong auto sales and a pickup in sales at department stores helped US retail sales score their biggest increase in seven months in July, according to government data.

But those figures did not offer much solace to companies like Dick's Sporting Goods, which saw its share price sink 23 per cent after slashing its full-year profit forecast and signaling it planned to keep prices low.

"By design, we will be more promotional and increase our marketing efforts for the remainder of the year, as we will aggressively protect our market share," said Edward Stack, chief executive of Dick's Sporting Goods.

Two other retailers that took a hit were Advance Auto Parts, which sank 20.3 per cent, and Coach, which tumbled 15.2 per cent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended slightly higher at 21,998.99.

The broad-based S&P 500 slipped 0.1 per cent to 2,464.61, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.1 per cent at 6,333.01.

Gainers in the Dow included Apple, American Express and Boeing, all up about one per cent or more.

Among other retailers Home Depot lost 2.7 per cent despite raising its full-year profit forecast, while TJX, parent of the TJ Maxx discount chain, gained 0.8 per cent after reporting a 6.0 per cent rise in second-quarter sales to US$8.4 billion.