Seven out of the 10 S&P 500 sector indexes ended lower, led by
financials <.SPSY> and industrials <.SPLRCI>, while consumer
discretionaries <.SPLRCD> led on the upside.
The day's data showed gains in U.S. home prices slowed in December,
according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index, while the consumer
confidence index fell more than expected in February.
Selling picked up slightly late in the session as traders unwound
positions after the S&P 500 failed to break above Monday's intraday
record high of 1,858.71, analysts said. The index remained in
negative territory, down 0.2 percent, for the year.
"We tried to break out again and retest the highs, and since we
failed, people are lightening up their positions they took earlier,"
said Michael O'Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in
Home Depot shares jumped 4 percent to close at $80.98, giving the
biggest boost to both the Dow and the S&P 500. Home Depot's earnings
beat expectations, though sales fell more than expected in the
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 27.48 points or 0.17
percent, to end at 16,179.66. The S&P 500 <.SPX> slipped 2.49 points
or 0.13 percent, to finish at 1,845.12. The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC>
dropped 5.38 points or 0.13 percent, to close at 4,287.587.
Shares of Macy's Inc <M.N> gained 6 percent to $56.25 after the
department store operator reported a drop in January sales, but said
fourth-quarter earnings rose from the previous year.
While many analysts have pinned the weakness to harsh winter weather
rather than deteriorating fundamentals, the retail earnings suggest
that spending has not dried up.
"There are a couple of credible pieces of information that didn't
get caught in the snow drifts," said Fred Dickson, chief market
strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co in Lake Oswego, Oregon. "Consumers
The S&P retail index <.SPXRT> rose 1.9 percent, while the consumer
discretionary index gained 0.5 percent.
[to top of second column]
Investors are anxious to hear from Federal Reserve Chair Janet
Yellen, who is due to speak on Thursday to the Senate Banking
Committee in her semiannual testimony about monetary policy. Her
comments will be scoured for insight into how bad weather has
affected economic activity, as well as for confirmation that the Fed
will not change its schedule for trimming stimulus.
Among other corporate results, Tenet Healthcare Corp <THC.N> late
Monday swung to a net loss in its fourth quarter. Tenet's adjusted
earnings, however, were better than expected. Its stock slid 9.1
percent to close at $43.93.
Perry Ellis International Inc <PERY.O> shares tumbled 17.5 percent
to $12.93, their lowest level since late 2011, a day after the
clothing company forecast a decline in quarterly revenue.
After the bell, shares of First Solar Inc <FSLR.O> dropped 12.3
percent to $50.90 after the solar panel maker reported that its
fourth-quarter net income fell 58 percent.
About 6.7 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the
7 billion average so far this month, according to data from BATS
Decliners outnumbered advancers on the New York Stock Exchange by a
ratio of 8 to 7. On the Nasdaq, nearly eight stocks fell for every
five that rose.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum, Nick
Zieminski and Jan Paschal)
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