Retail, tech stocks lead slide on Wall Street

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 hit a three-week low on Tuesday, as weak earnings from retailers including Target and Kohl’s as well as a fall in energy shares added to worries for Wall Street, which is still reeling from a technology selloff.

Target Corp shares (TGT.N) slumped 10.65 percent after the retailer’s third-quarter profit missed analysts’ estimates as investments in its online business, higher wages and price cuts hurt margins.

Department store operator Kohl’s Corp (KSS.N) shed 9.46 percent after its full-year profit forecast fell below expectations.

Warnings from retailers prompted caution ahead of the holiday season, increasing selling pressure on equities as investors fret about a slowdown in global growth, peaking corporate earnings and rising interest rates.

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Apple Inc (AAPL.O) shares fell 3.69 percent amid concerns about slowing demand for iPhones. The stock, which has led the market through much of its bull run, is at its lowest level since early May.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell to its lowest level in more than seven months and is now down about 14.6 percent from its record closing high in late August.

“You see some of the struggles specifically starting with the Apple guidance for the fourth quarter and then today with the retailers, which have come out with cautionary tone about the economy,” said Eric Kuby, chief investment officer at North Star Investment Management Corp in Chicago.

“Now you are looking at rising interest rates, all these costs and disruptions related to the trade policy, and an economy domestically that may be showing signs of slowing.”

Home improvement chain Lowe’s Cos Inc (LOW.N) fell 4.40 percent after it unveiled more restructuring plans in the face of worse-than-expected comparable sales numbers.

TJX Cos Inc (TJX.N) slipped 5.1 percent after the off-price retailer’s holiday-quarter earnings forecast fell largely below estimates. Smaller rival Ross Stores (ROST.O) fell 7.2 percent as its fourth-quarter forecast for same-store sales came below analysts’ expectations.

The S&P 500 retailing index .SPXRT lost 2 percent, falling for eight straight sessions.

At 11:34 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 496.90 points, or 1.99 percent, at 24,520.54, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 42.00 points, or 1.56 percent, at 2,648.73 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 96.47 points, or 1.37 percent, at 6,932.01.

Signs of slowing demand for Apple’s iPhones have wide-ranging implications for technology and internet companies.

Should Apple’s loss hold through the day, its shares would have lost more than 20 percent of their value, or around $250 billion, since closing at a record high on October 3.

Goldman Sachs trimmed its price target on Apple for the second time in just over a week, saying the balance of price and features in the new iPhone XR may not have been well-received by users outside of the United States.

The FANG group clawed back early losses, with Facebook Inc (FB.O) turning positive. Inc (AMZN.O), Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) and Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) were trading flat or up 0.6 percent.

The S&P energy index .SPNY tumbled 2.6 percent as oil prices plunged another 5 percent amid concerns about rising global supplies.

“We’re in a holiday week so there are fewer traders than normal and that’s a problem. Because whatever direction the markets go in, it’s exacerbated,” said Kim Forrest, senior portfolio manager at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 5.68-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 2.84-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 20 new 52-week highs and 41 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded six new highs and 230 new lows.

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