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US STOCKS-Wall St little changed as energy stocks weigh
November 17, 2015 / 3:01 PM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-Wall St little changed as energy stocks weigh

* Wal-Mart, Home Depot rise after strong results

* U.S. consumer prices up 0.2 pct in Oct

* Urban Outfitters, Dick’s Sporting sink on weak results

* Exxon, Chevron down slightly as crude prices slip

* Indexes down: Dow 0.06 pct, S&P 0.09 pct, Nasdaq 0.11 pct (Updates to open)

By Abhiram Nandakumar

Nov 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Tuesday morning as a dip in crude oil prices dragged down the energy sector, overshadowing better-than-expected earnings from Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

The S&P energy sector was down 1.23 percent - easily the worst performer of the 10 major S&P sectors - as crude prices slipped on concerns of a supply glut. Exxon and Chevron were down about 1 percent.

Wal-Mart, up 2.7 percent at $59.39, and Home Depot , up 2.8 percent at $124.08, provided the biggest boost to the Dow and the S&P.

Strong results from the two big-box retailers lifted others in the sector, with Lowe’s up 3 percent, Ross Stores 2.3 percent and Target 2 percent.

TJX was up 5.6 percent at $69.33 after reporting strong results.

Data showed U.S. consumer prices rose 0.2 percent in October, in line with expectations, a sign that the drag on inflation from a strong dollar and lower oil prices was starting to ease.

The modest rise in inflation could bolster chances of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates next month.

Retail stocks were hammered last week after weak economic data and earnings from retailers such as Macy’s rekindled concerns about slowing retail spending ahead of the crucial holiday shopping season.

“People understand that the U.S. consumer is okay, but not great,” said Steve Blitz, chief economist at ITG. “What we’re seeing with the consumer is that there’s a limited wallet. If you see increased spending one place, you see decreased spending in another place.”

At 9:42 a.m. ET the Dow Jones industrial average was down 11.25 points, or 0.06 percent, at 17,471.76, the S&P 500 was down 1.86 points, or 0.09 percent, at 2,051.33 and the Nasdaq Composite index was down 5.62 points, or 0.11 percent, at 4,979.00.

Six of the 10 major S&P sectors were higher, with the consumer discretionary sector’s 0.6 percent rise leading the advancers.

U.S. stocks had their best day in three weeks on Monday, helped by strong gains in energy stocks as investors saw limited economic impact from the deadly attacks in Paris.

Urban Outfitters dropped 12.7 percent to $19.87 and Dick’s Sporting Goods 15.4 percent to $34.51 after the retailers reported disappointing results.

U.S. industrial output fell 0.2 percent in October, compared with the 0.1 percent increase expected, raising concerns for the robustness of fourth-quarter economic growth.

Federal Reserve board governors Jerome Powell and Daniel Tarullo are slated to speak at separate events later in the day.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,629 to 1,038. On the Nasdaq, 1,326 issues fell and 899 rose.

The S&P 500 index showed three new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded nine new highs and 46 new lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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