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Financial Markets                      02/20 15:33


   NEW YORK (AP) -- Technology stocks led Wall Street broadly lower as 
chipmaker Nvidia pulled back ahead of its earnings report this week. The S&P 
500 fell 0.6% Tuesday. The benchmark index is coming off only its second losing 
week in the last 16. The Nasdaq composite gave up 0.9% and the Dow lost 0.2%. 
Nvidia, which has ridden a wave of investor enthusiasm over artificial 
intelligence, lost 4.4%. The stock has more than tripled over the past year. 
Walmart rose 3.2% after reporting stronger-than-expected results for its latest 
quarter and issuing sales forecasts that came in ahead of what Wall Street was 

   THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP's earlier story follows below.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks fell on Wall Street in afternoon trading Tuesday to 
kick off a holiday-shortened week.

   The S&P 500 slipped 0.6% and is coming off only its second losing week in 
the last 16. The losses pushed the benchmark index further below the record it 
set last week.

   The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 38 points, or 0.1%, as of 2:54 p.m. 
Eastern time. The Nasdaq composite fell 1.1%.

   Markets were closed in the U.S. on Monday for Presidents Day.

   Technology stocks were among the biggest weights on the market. Chipmaker 
Nvidia slumped 4.7% and Microsoft fell 0.6%.

   Big retailers reported mixed earnings. Walmart rose 3.5% after reporting 
stronger-than-expected results for its latest quarter and issuing sales 
forecasts that came in ahead of what Wall Street was expecting.

   Home improvement retailer Home Depot wavered between small gains and losses. 
It beat Wall Street's earnings forecasts, but gave investors a disappointing 
profit forecast for the year.

   Outside of earnings, credit card company Capital One Financial rose 0.2% as 
it moves ahead with a $35 billion buyout of Discover Financial Services. 
Discover soared 12.9% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500.

   Markets are coming off of a heavy week of economic reports that hinted at 
stubborn inflation squeezing consumer spending. That has pushed expectations 
for the Federal Reserve to start cutting interest rates further out into 2024. 
The central bank on Wednesday will release minutes from its latest meeting, 
potentially giving investors more insight into its next move.

   The central bank held interest rates steady at its last meeting in late 
January and investors had been hoping for rate cuts as soon as March. Those 
hopes were dashed by the Fed's comments and the latest batch of economic data. 
Wall Street is now betting on a possible rate cut in May and a likely rate cut 
in June, according to CME's FedWatch Tool.

   Those lowered expectations for interest rate cuts and renewed worries about 
inflation have essentially tripped up the broader market.

   "The narrative that drove us to these levels is very much being called into 
question," said Sameer Samana, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo 
Investment Institute.

   Bond yields fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 4.25% from 
4.28% late Friday. The yield on the two-year Treasury fell to 4.58% from 4.65%.

   Markets in Europe were mixed and markets in Asia were mostly higher.

   China's central bank kept its 1-year loan prime rate unchanged on Tuesday 
but cut its 5-year rate by 25 basis points to 3.95%. That came as a surprise, 
the first time the five-year rate was cut since May 2023.

   Investors have a relatively light week of economic updates ahead, with the 
latest data on home sales expected Thursday. The broader housing market remains 
tight, with demand still outpacing supplies. Mortgage rates also remain high, 
though they have been easing from their most recent peak in late October, when 
the average rate on a 30-year mortgage hit 7.79%.

   Companies from a broad range of industries will report their latest earnings 
this week. Chipmaking giant Nvidia will release its results on Wednesday along 
with online crafts marketplace Etsy. Online travel company Booking Holdings 
reports Thursday. The latest batch of results might give investors a clearer 
idea of the economy's path ahead.

   More than 80% of companies in the S&P 500 have reported their latest 
results. Analysts polled by FactSet expect overall earnings growth of about 
3.3% for the fourth quarter and are forecast earnings growth of about 3.6% for 
the current quarter.

   Wall Street will have to wait until the end of February for another key 
update on inflation, when the government releases its monthly personal 
consumption and expenses report, which is the Fed's preferred measure.

   "The key question to answer now is whether inflation is bottoming out, and 
if it is, does it go sideways or back up," Samana said.


   Business writers Yuri Kageyama and Matt Ott contributed to this report.



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