Tech stocks, Home Depot pull S&P 500, Dow from record highs

(Reuters) -Wall Street’s main indexes slid on Tuesday, weighed down by a decline in mega-cap technology-related stocks and a weak earnings report from Home Depot, while a mixed batch of data suggested an uneven U.S. economic recovery.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., August 11, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Home Depot dropped 4.7% after it missed Wall Street estimates for U.S. same-store sales for the first time in two years, as do-it-yourself projects during the height of the pandemic tapered off.

The results also sent shares of smaller rival Lowe’s Companies Inc down 5.3%, while the broader S&P 500 retailing index slipped 2.7%.

Heavyweight growth names Apple Inc, Google-owner Alphabet Inc, Facebook Inc, Microsoft Corp, Tesla Inc and fell between 0.8% and 4.2%, pulling the S&P 500 and the Dow from record highs.

Data showed U.S. retail sales fell 1.1% in July amid weakness in purchases of motor vehicles, while a separate report from the Federal Reserve showed industrial output increased more than expected last month.

“The market is starting to price in a deceleration of growth whether it’s right now, in the fourth quarter or in 2022,” said Jay Hatfield, chief executive of Infrastructure Capital Management in New York.

“There’s a tremendous amount of Fed liquidity that’s causing rotation versus absolute selling … you’re seeing cyclical stocks, riskier tech underperform and a flight to quality which includes the defensive sectors.”

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors fell, with consumer discretionary shares dropping 2.7%, followed by a 1.4% fall each in industrials and materials.

The healthcare sector and consumer staples rose to record highs.

At 12:10 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 336.49 points, or 0.94%, at 35,288.91, the S&P 500 was down 41.56 points, or 0.93%, at 4,438.15, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 186.26 points, or 1.26%, at 14,607.50.

Global equities started the week on the backfoot as tighter scrutiny of China’s internet sector and signs of a slowing economic recovery, particularly in China, drove investors towards defensive parts of the market.

Still, the benchmark S&P 500 and the Dow industrials closed at record highs on Monday as investors weighed concerns about a resurgence in global COVID-19 cases, the Federal Reserve’s potential policy tapering moves against a stellar earnings season.

“The market is near all-time highs so it certainly is due for a breather, but I wouldn’t expect any material type of crashes or corrections,” said Thomas Hayes, managing member at Great Hill Capital in New York.

Focus is now on minutes from the Fed’s latest meeting, due on Wednesday, after Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said that one more month of strong job gains could satisfy the central bank’s requirements for beginning to reduce its monthly asset purchases.

Walmart Inc rose 0.3% after the world’s No. 1 retailer increased its annual U.S. same-store sales forecast.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 3.19-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 3.11-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 35 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 33 new highs and 274 new lows.

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