US stocks down, Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods flounder

US stocks down, Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods flounder


New York: Selling on renewed concerns about the economy and interest rates helped send Wal-Mart Stores to an eight-year low, while Tyson Foods dropped along with its profit estimate. But Forest Laboratories was lifted by a patent victory.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 143.39 points, or 1.1%, to 13,305.47 after gaining 210.13 points in the prior two sessions. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 24.29, or 0.9%, to 2,605.95, its first loss in five sessions.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 17.13, or 1.2%, to 1,472.29. The New York Stock Exchange Composite Index declined 115.51, or 1.2%, to 9,583.17.

Stocks slumped as weak pending home sales, indications of softer job growth, and comments from the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book of regional economic conditions reignited fears that an interest rate cut could be put further off. On Tuesday the market had rallied on perceived indications that the cut was coming.

The push-pull can be counted on to continue, said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management. “There is nothing fully reflective of what’s truly going on with the economy and the credit markets," he said. “As a result, we’re trading on fear, not fundamentals."

Concerns about consumer confidence and soft sales sent Dow industrial Wal-Mart Stores to its lowest level since 9 August 1999, as shares fell 85 cents, or 2%, to 42.45.

The fears were stoked by reports from others in the industry. Costco Wholesale (Nasdaq) fell 2.61, or 4.2%, to 59. Same-store sales for August rose 2% when analysts expected the warehouse club to report a 5.6% gain.

Guess fell 1.95, or 3.7%, to 51.45. The apparel retailer issued a full-year profit outlook whose low end was below Wall Street’s expectations. Still, the stock mounted quite a comeback, having been down as much as 11% during the session.

Tyson Foods dropped 2.84, or 13%, to 19.17, the NYSE’s third-biggest percentage decliner. The meat-processor cut its 2007 earnings estimate, saying the fourth quarter was “more challenging than expected" and that its beef operations were hurt by higher cattle costs and a decline in beef revenue.

Forest Laboratories rose 3.75, or 9.9%, to 41.63, the second-best percentage advance by a Big Board member. The drug company and H. Lundbeck A/S said a federal appeals court confirmed the companies’ patent rights for their antidepressant Lexapro, which expire in March 2012.

Volume on the New York Stock Exchange was 1.39 billion shares. Down volume exceeded up by 1.12 billion to 265 million and st ocks that fell in value exceeded those that rose by 2,411 to 9 23.