US stocks ended lower with the benchmark S&P 500 Index trading in its tightest daily range in over a month weighed down by a slump by Wal-Mart on weaker than expected earnings and weaknesses in commodity stocks on weaknesses in China’s economy.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 33.84 points or 0.25 to end at 17,498.28 points to snap a three day streak of gains for the blue chip index.
The S&P 500 Index ended 5.52 points or 0.3% to end at 2,096.92 with nine of its ten key sectors ending lower on the day. Only the consumer discretionally sector ended higher on the day.
The Nasdaq Composite ended 32.25 points or 0.7% lower at 5,059.35.
“You would think that a 6-percent China move amid the recent currency adjustments would have netted a more negative result,” Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey, told Reuters.
Wal-Mart fell by more than 3.4% on the day to end at $69.48 a share, its lowest close in more than two and a half years, after its second quarter profit missed estimates.
Housing stocks slumped just a day after a report by the National Association of Homebuilders showing that they construction of new homes grew at the highest pace in more than 8 years suggesting that tha gins didn’t inspire confidence in the wider market.
“It is difficult to see how this market will break out of this range when a fifth of the S&P 500 stocks are down 20% or more and the indexes are led higher by fewer and fewer stocks,” Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at RW Baird & Co, told Market Watch.
“We believe that the Federal Reserve’s September meeting might prove to be a catalyst to jolt the markets higher if it does raise interest rates, as it would signal confidence in the economy,” Bittles said.
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