NEW YORK: US stocks fell sharply Wednesday, with shares of Walmart and other major American retailers tumbling after weak earnings from department-store chain Macy’s.
Shares were mixed in Europe, with Paris and Frankfurt retreating on waning optimism over bailout talks between Greece and the eurozone, and London edging higher ahead of a meeting of the Bank of England.
Macy’s plummeted 15.2 percent after slashing its 2016 forecast, sparking worries over the future of brick-and-mortar stores in the face of rising competition from online stores.
“People don’t go to the malls anymore, they buy everything on Amazon or over the Internet,” said Mace Blicksilver, director of Marblehead Asset Management. “So we have profound winners and losers.”
The report came on the heels of a profit warning Tuesday from youth-oriented apparel group Gap, and sent Dow members Walmart and Home Depot down 2.8 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.
The broad-based S&P 500 finished down 1.0 percent.
The losses in the US came despite strong gains in oil prices that lifted the US benchmark contract to its highest level of 2016.
“Up until now, every time oil picked up, so did the S&P 500,” Blicksilver said.
The shift could mean investors are becoming more concerned that higher oil prices could curtail consumer spending, he added.
In the eurozone, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 fell 0.7 percent, while the Paris CAC 40 ended 0.5 percent lower.
Enthusiasm about Greece seemingly on the way to unlocking fresh bailout money faded, leaving investors to fret about the troubled eurozone member’s next crisis.
“The first discussions about debt relief offer little hope of a solution to Greece’s unsustainable debt mountain,” analysts at Capital Economics noted.
Financial shares across the eurozone came under pressure from fresh turbulence in Italian banking stocks amid rekindled fears about bad loans.
Shares in Banco Popolare fell more than nine percent in Milan after the bank raised provisions for risky loans, while Banco Popolare di Milano, which is to merge with Banco Popolare, dropped by more than six percent.
In London, the benchmark FTSE 100 index eked out a small closing gain, boosted by mining and oil stocks which offset data showing that British industrial output grew more weakly than expected in March.
Analysts at Charles Schwab said the feeble industrial data suggests that “uncertainty regarding a potential UK exit from the European Union, known as Brexit, could be weighing on economic activity.”
The British pound was steady ahead of Thursday’s meeting of the Bank of England. Much attention will be focused on what Governor Mark Carney says about the Brexit vote.
“Chances are they will keep their outlook focused on the short term,” said BK Asset Management analyst Kathy Lien.
“However sterling could fall if Carney suggests that they stand ready to ease policy if Brexit causes significant disruptions to the economy.”
– Key figures around 2100 GMT –
New York – Dow: DOWN 1.2 percent at 17,711.12 (close)
New York – S&P 500: DOWN 1.0 percent at 2,064.46 (close)
New York – Nasdaq: DOWN 1.0 percent at 4,760.69 (close)
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 6,162.49 (close).
Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.7 percent at 9,975.32 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.5 percent at 4,316.67 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.8 percent at 2,956.71
Tokyo: Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 16,579.01 (close)
Shanghai – composite: DOWN 0.2 percent at 2,837.04 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.9 percent at 20,055.29 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1426 from $1.1372 Tuesday
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 108.439 yen from 109.27 yen
Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016
Courtesy : BRecorder