By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks sold off for a second day on Tuesday as energy shares dropped with oil prices, and retailers including Target and Kohl’s sank after weak earnings and forecasts, fueling worries about economic growth.
The Nasdaq closed at its lowest level in more than seven months while the S&P 500 and Dow ended at their lowest since late October, a day after Apple <AAPL.O>, internet and other technology shares dropped, further shaking confidence in a group of stocks that has propelled the long bull market.
Apple shares dropped again on Tuesday, falling 4.8 percent to its lowest level since early May, as concerns lingered over slowing demand for iPhones.
Target Corp shares <TGT.N> slumped 10.5 percent after third-quarter profit missed analysts’ estimates. The company’s investments in its online business, higher wages and price cuts hurt margins.
Department store operator Kohl’s Corp <KSS.N> shed 9.2 percent after its full-year profit forecast fell below expectations.
Warnings from retailers added to caution for investors, already on edge over recent sharp losses in technology shares, a slowdown in global growth, peaking corporate earnings and rising interest rates.
“It’s the market adjusting to an early 2019 that looks different from the months of 2018 in that there have been mounting concerns over global growth. U.S. growth is not weakening dramatically but slowing,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.
The day’s losses left the S&P 500 and Dow in negative territory for the year, with the Dow now down about 1 percent and the S&P 500 down 1.1 percent since Dec. 31.
The S&P energy index <.SPNY> tumbled 3.3 percent and led sector losses. U.S. oil prices ended the day down 6.6 percent amid concerns about rising global supplies. The S&P 500 retail index <.SPXRT> lost 2.7 percent in its eighth straight session of losses.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 551.8 points, or 2.21 percent, to 24,465.64, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 48.84 points, or 1.82 percent, to 2,641.89 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 119.65 points, or 1.7 percent, to 6,908.82.
“It’s a combination of all of the various concerns coming together to force investors out of the overall market,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.
But he said high volume on a down day usually means to him “an initial sign of capitulation,” and that the sell-off may be near an end.
About 9.0 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges. That compares with the 8.6 billion-share daily average for the past 20 trading days.
Among other retailers, home improvement chain Lowe’s Cos Inc <LOW.N> fell 5.7 percent after it unveiled further plans of restructuring in the face of worse-than-expected sales numbers.
TJX Cos Inc <TJX.N> slipped 4.4 percent after the discount retailer’s holiday-quarter earnings forecast came in largely below estimates. Smaller rival Ross Stores <ROST.O> fell 9.4 percent after it forecast fourth-quarter same-store sales below analysts’ expectations.
Signs of cooling demand for iPhones have wide-ranging implications for technology and internet companies.
Apple’s shares have now lost more than 20 percent of their value, which is roughly $250 billion, since the stock’s Oct. 3 record closing high.
Goldman Sachs trimmed its price target on Apple for the second time in just over a week, saying the balance of price and features in the new iPhone XR may not have been well received by users outside of the United States.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 5.70-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.16-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 20 new 52-week highs and 41 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 11 new highs and 291 new lows.
(Additional reporting by April Joyner and Medha Singh; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Rosalba O’Brien)