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Stocks Slip on Disappointing Retail Earnings

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11/19/2019 | 11:32am EST

By Anna Isaac and Paul Vigna

U.S. stocks broke off their record pace Tuesday after a round of weak earnings reports from retailers.

The Dow Jones industrial Average fell 0.4% to 27920. The S&P 500 dropped 0.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.1%. All three indexes closed at records Monday.

A drop here isn't really a surprise, said Nick Reece, senior analysts at Merk Investments. "We've seen sentiment get pretty optimistic," he said. "It's probably a little over-stretched."

Shares of retailers were among the biggest decliners in Tuesday's session as the group began reporting third-quarter earnings. Dow component Home Depot shares fell 4.8%, after the retailer trimmed its expectations for sales growth. Shares of Kohl's dropped 18% after it lowered its profit guidance for the year. That is its worst one-day drop since January 2017.

The disappointing outlook from both companies weighed on the stocks of other U.S. retailers, as investors grew concerned about the health of a sector that has been strong so far this year. Macy's, which is scheduled to report earnings later in the week, fell 11% while Nordstrom declined 6.3%. Gap slumped 3.8%.

Meanwhile, discount retailer TJX rose 1% after its earnings report showed a strong rise in sales.

Globally, stocks edged higher as investors grew less apprehensive about the economic outlook and the prospects for a U.S.-China trade deal in the absence of fresh shocks. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended the day up almost 1.6%, while the Shanghai Composite gauge advanced 0.9%.

Meanwhile, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.2%.

"Markets were thinking a recession was imminent at the end of August, now people are discovering that it is less bad than that," said Florian Ielpo, head of macroeconomic research at asset-management firm Unigestion. "Pessimism is starting to fade."

The ICE dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, dropped sharply immediately after President Trump said he met with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at the White House Monday and "protested" about U.S. interest rates being too high. The gauge has pared back most of those losses in the hours since.

Mr. Trump, who has been vocal in his criticism of the central bank, tweeted that he discussed the state of the economy, trade issues, and the impact of a "too strong" dollar with the central bank chief. The Fed said Mr. Powell reiterated that he hoped interest-rate cuts earlier this year would bolster the economy.

The yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasurys slipped to 1.783%, from 1.808% on Monday.

In commodities, U.S. crude futures fell 2.4% on concerns about excess oil supplies.

Write to Anna Isaac at anna.isaac@wsj.com and Paul Vigna at paul.vigna@wsj.com

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
CHINA-SHANGHAI COMP 0.43% 2912.01 End-of-day quote.16.58%
DJ INDUSTRIAL 1.22% 28015.06 Delayed Quote.20.09%
HANG SENG 1.07% 26487.17 Real-time Quote.2.48%
HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY -0.98% 9.13 Delayed Quote.25.24%
NASDAQ 100 1.07% 8397.367217 Delayed Quote.32.66%
NASDAQ COMP. 1.00% 8656.528802 Delayed Quote.30.46%
NORDSTROM, INC 0.40% 37.56 Delayed Quote.-19.42%
S&P 500 0.91% 3145.91 Delayed Quote.25.49%
US DOLLAR INDEX 0.30% 97.7 End-of-day quote.1.05%
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