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Sinking retailers hold major US stock indexes in check

Steep drops in Kohl’s and other retailers kept gains for major indexes in check on Wall Street Tuesday, offsetting good showings in other sectors.

A slide in Home Depot’s stock dragged the Dow Jones Industrial Average lower. The Nasdaq rose thanks to broad gains in technology, by far the best-performing sector this year.

Tech stocks have done especially well in recent weeks as investors grow more hopeful that the U.S. and China will make progress in ending their trade war.

Energy companies also slid as oil prices continued falling. Communications stocks also moved lower.

Every major index is still hovering around record highs. They have been steadily rising for weeks as a mix of solid economic data and corporate earnings inject confidence into the market and diminished fears that a recession was imminent.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index fell less than 0.1% as of 12:45 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 79 points, or 0.3%, to 27,959. The Nasdaq rose 0.3%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rose 0.5%

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.78% from 1.80% late Monday.

European markets moved higher and Asian markets were mixed.

BAD CUT: Home Depot dropped 5.3% after the home improvement company reported weak sales growth for the most recent quarter and cut its forecast for the year. Rival Lowe’s, which will report earnings on Wednesday, fell 1.4%.

RETAIL ROUT: Kohl’s plunged 18.3% after the department store operator slashed its profit forecast for the year following weak third-quarter earnings.

Investors dumped stocks of other department store operators after the weak outlook from Kohl's. Macy's sank 10% and Nordstrom lost 5.1%. Both report their own results on Thursday.