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US: Weak Walmart results weigh on retailers, stocks


[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks dropped Tuesday, with retailers falling especially hard following disappointing results from Dow-member Walmart.

The world's biggest retailer plunged 10.2 per cent after reporting a 42.1 per cent drop in fourth-quarter earnings to US$2.2 billion in results that revealed growing pains in the company's e-commerce buildout.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 1.0 per cent at 24,964.75.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.6 per cent to 2,716.26, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.1 per cent to 7,234.31.

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US stocks were a bit choppy throughout the day, with the Nasdaq positive much of the session before fading late.

Analysts said investors remain uneasy following the volatility of recent weeks. US stocks rallied last week after suffering deep losses the week earlier due to worries about tightening US monetary policy.

"I would say investors are derisking in a quiet market," said Karl Haeling, vice president of LBBW.

Other large retailers also declined following the disappointment over Walmart's results, with Target losing 3.8 per cent and Costco Wholesale down 1.8 per cent.

NXP Semiconductors shot up 6.0 per cent after US mobile chipmaker Qualcomm boosted its bid for the Dutch company to US$43 billion. Qualcomm fell 1.3 per cent.