November 20, 2013

Stocks edge lower after disappointing earnings

Big decliners include Best Buy and Campbell Soup.

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Disappointing earnings news helped push the stock market lower on Tuesday.

Electronics retailer Best Buy plunged after saying extended store hours and price-cutting could squeeze its fourth-quarter profit. Campbell Soup fell sharply after reporting that its profit slumped as sales of soups and V8 drinks fell. The two stocks were the biggest decliners in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.

Even with the slight decline the S&P 500 is still up 25 percent so far in 2013 and has risen for six weeks straight, the longest winning streak since February.

“We’ve had a phenomenal run, particularly in the last few weeks. I wouldn’t be surprised if we would pull back from here,” said Alec Young of S&P Capital IQ.

The Dow Jones industrial average edged down 8.99 points, or 0.1 percent, to 15,967.03, the first decline for the index in five days. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 3.66 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,787.87 and the Nasdaq composite fell 17.51 points, or 0.4 percent, to 3,931.55.

The Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 crossed round-number milestones in early trading Monday but failed to build on those advances.

Retailers were a key focus on Tuesday. Consumer spending is a critical component of the U.S. economy, so how consumers behave during the closely watched holiday season will give investors a sign about the outlook for growth.

Best Buy sank $4.78, or 11 percent, to $38.78 after its warning of a tough holiday trading period ahead. The company’s stock is still up 227 percent this year, making it the second-best performer in the S&P 500 after Netflix.

Campbell Soup dropped $2.61, or 6.2 percent, to $39.20 after reporting that its quarterly profit plunged 30 percent.

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