Dow, S&P retreat for second day
By Angela Moon
Trading remained in a tight range with U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke scheduled to speak in Washington at 7 p.m. EST. Charles Evans, the president of the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank, said earlier on Tuesday that the central bank may need to wait until next year, possibly until March, before beginning to wind down its massive bond-purchase program.
Cautious forecasts from Best Buy and Campbell Soup Co. gave investors a reason to sell some stocks. Best Buy shares slid 11 percent to close at $38.78, while Campbell Soup fell 6.2 percent to $39.21.
The Dow briefly rose above 16,000 but failed to close above that level for the second day. The S&P 500 retreated further from the 1,800 level it hit on Monday. Despite the two-day decline, the S&P 500 is still up about 25 percent for the year. The benchmark index is on track for its biggest yearly gain since 2003.
“The last couple of days have been a bit choppy, signaling a top here, but the market is extremely resilient to any bad news and funds continue to flow into stocks and risky assets from bonds and fixed income,” said Tim Ghriskey, who helps manage more than $1.5 billion as chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management LLC.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 8.99 points, or 0.06 percent, to end at 15,967.03. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index declined 3.66 points, or 0.20 percent, to finish at 1,787.87. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 17.51 points, or 0.44 percent, to close at 3,931.55.
Best Buy is cutting prices for the holiday season to thwart fierce competition from Wal-Mart and other discount and online rivals, a move that it warns will hurt margins for the current quarter.
Campbell Soup, the world’s largest soup maker, also cut its full-year profit forecast after a drop in demand for its soups and drinks resulted in first-quarter earnings that fell far short of analysts’ estimates.
But a recovery in the U.S. housing market helped Home Depot exceed profit and sales estimates for the third quarter, prompting the No. 1 home improvement chain to raise its fiscal-year outlook for the third time this year.
The stock gained 0.9 percent to end at $80.38 after hitting a lifetime high of $82.25.
The S&P 500 has more stocks up so far this year than in almost any other year since 1980, according to Frost Investment Advisors.
“221 stocks in the index are up more than 30 percent. In fact, it has been over 530 trading days now since the stock market has seen the 10 percent correction that many predicted over the last 529 or so days,” Frost Investment said in a note to clients.
On Wednesday, minutes from the Fed’s October meeting are scheduled to be released. At that meeting, the Fed decided to stick with its bond-buying program. Investors have been bracing for a pullback from the stimulus program since the summer.
“I’d say there’s a very low probability the Fed does anything between now and the end of the year,” said Dan Veru, chief investment officer of Palisade Capital Management, which has $4.5 billion in assets and is based in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
Tesla Motors shares rose 3.7 percent to $126.09 in a volatile session. U.S. traffic safety regulators launched an investigation into the luxury electric sports car maker’s Model S sedan after three car fires in six weeks.
About 5.8 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the NYSE MKT, slightly below the five-day average closing volume of about 6.1 billion, according to BATS exchange data.
On the New York Stock Exchange, decliners beat advancers by a ratio of slightly more than 2 to 1. On the Nasdaq, nearly two stocks fell for every one that rose.