* Tesla jumps on pending S&P 500 inclusion
* Walmart, Home Depot, Kohl's beat earnings expectations
* Walgreen, CVS hammered by Amazon's online pharmacy foray
* Indexes down: Dow 0.57%, S&P 0.34%, Nasdaq 0.01%
Nov 17 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Dow retreated from
record closing highs on Tuesday as surging cases of COVID-19 and
the growing threat of a fresh round of economic lockdowns and
weak retail sales data dampened the euphoria caused by potential
The broad sell-off was a reversal of Monday's rally, in
which the blue-chip Dow reached its first record closing high
since before the pandemic.
The Nasdaq was essentially flat, its losses capped by
surging Tesla Inc shares.
"We're seeing profit taking after some substantial gains,
and we had mixed macro news," said Peter Cardillo, chief market
economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York. "The market
is pulling back, but we're off the lows of the day."
"There's nothing to suggest we've hit a peak of this
Monday's rally was prompted by Moderna Inc's
announcement that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate appears to be
94.5% effective in preventing infection.
But a recent surge in new coronavirus cases across the
United States have led several governors to enact new
restrictions to prevent the disease from spiraling out of
The retail sales report released by the Commerce Department
showed spending decelerating as the holiday shopping season
approaches amid a lack of forthcoming fiscal relief from
"The retail sales data was disappointing and that's an
alarming sign, in that we're not very far away from the holiday
spending season," Cardillo added. "The pandemic is keeping
people from opening up their wallets in a big way."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 171.75 points,
or 0.57%, to 29,778.69, the S&P 500 lost 12.45 points, or
0.34%, to 3,614.46 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.67
points, or 0.01%, to 11,923.46.
Among 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, utilities
and healthcare stocks were faring the worst.
Third-quarter earnings season is in its final stretch, with
465 of the companies in the S&P 500 having reported. Of those,
84.5% have beaten consensus estimates, according to Refinitiv
This week brings quarterly results from series of
Walmart Inc beat profit expectations and posted a
bigger-than-expected 6.4% annual growth in same-store sales.
Home improvement retailer Home Depot Inc also beat
quarterly profit and sales estimates as consumers used
stay-at-home restrictions to focus on DIY home projects.
Still, Walmart's and Home Depot's stocks were down 0.6% and
But Kohl's Corp jumped 8.9% after the department
store chain posted a surprise quarterly profit and forecast
strong margins for the upcoming holiday season.
Target Corp and Lowe's Companies Inc results
are expected before the bell on Wednesday.
Shares of Tesla jumped 9.0% after S&P Dow Jones Indices
announced it would add the electric automaker to the S&P 500 on
Amazon.com Inc rose 0.7% after it launched an
online pharmacy in the United States. Shares of rival drug
retailers such as Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc CVS
Health Corp were both down nearly 9%, on the news.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a
1.18-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.02-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 21 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 96 new highs and eight new lows.
(Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan, Medha Singh, Shriya
Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru and by Stephen Culp in New York;
Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Tom Brown)