by Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, July 26 (Reuters) – The New York Stock Exchange ended sharply lower on Tuesday after Walmart issued a profit forecast warning, dragging down retailer stocks and fueling consumer fears , while the morale of American consumers has deteriorated.
The Dow Jones index fell 0.71%, or 228.50 points, to 31,761.54 points.
The broader S&P-500 lost 45.79 points, or 1.15%, to 3,921.05 points.
The Nasdaq Composite fell for its part by 220.09 points (1.87%) to 11,562.58 points.
In the aftermath of its quarterly and annual profit forecasts being downgraded, citing soaring food and fuel prices, Walmart plunged 7.6%. In its wake, Target declined 3.6% and Amazon fell 4.2%.
Amazon, which announced a sharp rise in its “Prime” subscriptions in Europe, weighed heavily on the Nasdaq and the S&P-500.
“The majority of companies that reported results today beat estimates. But of course there were some warning signs, and that’s what the market is focusing on,” commented Peter Cardillo, chief economist at Spartan Capital Securities, New York.
According to him, the markets having anticipated the announcements of the American Federal Reserve (Fed) expected this week, the main concerns are the quarterly results and the economic data.
The US central bank began its two-day monetary policy meeting today. It is expected to announce an interest rate hike of 75 basis points on Wednesday, amid fears that its inflationary measures will push the economy into recession.
Among the companies that beat expectations, McDonald’s rose 2.7%. Coca-Cola rose 1.6% after raising its forecast for annual sales.
It’s been a busy week in the heart of the earnings season, with heavyweights Alphabet, Microsoft, Meta Platforms, Apple and Amazon. Investors are looking to see if big tech stocks can help Wall Street stay afloat.
Microsoft and Alphabet, which released their post-closing results on Tuesday, were down.
A range of economic data is expected this week. A report on Tuesday showed US consumer confidence fell to a year-and-a-half low in July, suggesting slower growth heading into the third quarter.
(French version Jean Terzian)