Dow Falls 200 Points After Walmart’s Profit Warning, Consumer Confidence Tumbles

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The stock market fell on Tuesday, with retail stocks leading declines after Walmart slashed its profit outlook for the rest of the year and warned that high inflation is having an impact on consumer spending, while new data showed consumer confidence hit its lowest point in over a year.

Key Facts

Stocks were under pressure amid renewed recession fears: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.7%, over 200 points, while the S&P 500 lost 1.2% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite 1.9%.

Markets were hard-hit following a profit warning from Walmart late on Monday, with America’s largest retailer describing that inflation is “affecting how customers spend,” with notable cutbacks in spending on general merchandise like apparel and TVs.

Retail stocks widely moved lower across the board on Tuesday as a result, with Macy’s, Target and Kohl’s all falling by 5% or more, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF, which tracks the sector, lost roughly 4%.

What’s more, stocks fell after the latest data from the Conference Board showed the consumer confidence index fell to 95.7 in July—its third consecutive monthly decline, while short-term expectations for the business outlook remain at nearly a decade-low.

Investors also continued to assess the latest batch of second quarter earnings: Of the 133 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported so far, roughly 80% have beaten analyst expectations, according to Refinitiv data.

Shares of General Motors and UPS both declined after lackluster earnings results, while the likes of Coca-Cola, McDonalds and General Electric all reported strong results and saw their stocks rally on Tuesday.

What To Watch For:

The Federal Reserve will conclude its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, with investors widely expecting the central bank to raise interest rates by another 75-basis-points. The Fed hiked rates by the same amount at its meeting last month, pledging to use “more restrictive policy” as needed, while also warning of a “significant risk” that high consumer prices could become “entrenched” for longer.

Tangent:

Shares of Shopify, meanwhile, tanked 14% ahead of earnings on Wednesday. The e-commerce company announced Tuesday that it was laying off roughly 10% of its total workforce as customers spend less on online shopping.

Crucial Quote:

“Stocks declined after a wrath of gloomy corporate outlooks made it seem like this current wave of growth concerns would send this economy quickly into a recession,” says Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda. “With a lot of massive earnings due after the bell and later this week, Wall Street is bracing for softer outlooks and intensifying recession pressures.”

Further Reading:

Walmart Shares Plunge Nearly 10% After Company Warns Of Profit Slowdown Due To Inflation (Forbes)

IMF Warns Of ‘Gloomy Outlook’ For Global Economy, Slashing Growth Estimates (Forbes)

New China Covid-19 Lockdowns Would Threaten U.S. Economic Recovery (Just Ask Tesla) (Forbes)