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US STOCKS-S&P 500, Dow drop from record levels as coronavirus cases spike

* Tesla set to add $40 bln to market cap

* Walgreen, CVS hammered by Amazon’s online pharmacy foray

* Indexes down: Dow 0.6%, S&P 0.4%, Nasdaq 0.3% (Adds comments, details; Updates prices)

Nov 17 (Reuters) - Wall Street’s main indexes fell on Tuesday with the S&P 500 and the Dow retreating from record closing highs hit a day earlier, following disappointing retail sales data and a spike in COVID-19 cases across the country.

The Nasdaq’s losses were limited by a 7.6% jump in Tesla Inc’s shares on news the electric-car maker would join the benchmark S&P 500 in December.

The Dow finished about 50 points shy of 30,000 on Monday, after Moderna Inc’s promising COVID-19 vaccine data boosted hopes of an economic recovery.

Latest data showed U.S. retail sales increased less than expected in October and could slow further due to spiraling new infections and as additional fiscal support remained elusive.

New Jersey, California and Iowa imposed fresh restrictions as the pandemic reached its most perilous point yet in the United States, threatening to worsen as the colder weather sets in.

“We just reached new highs, so it’s natural for the market to take a breather, and the slightly disappointing read on the retail sales front is facilitating that,” said Chris Larkin, managing director of trading and investing product at E*TRADE Financial Corp.

“And without stimulus checks coming in, there’s a bit of uncertainty in this sector in the short term.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday he hoped lawmakers could reach a deal on overall government funding by the week’s end and that the next few days could be decisive.

At 11:38 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 178.02 points, or 0.60%, to 29,772.42, the S&P 500 lost 13.38 points, or 0.37%, to 3,613.53 and the Nasdaq composite lost 29.45 points, or 0.25%, to 11,894.68.

Financials, industrials and energy stocks gave back some gains made over the last week as positive updates from U.S. vaccine trials encouraged investors to diversify into value stocks on hopes they will benefit from a pickup in the economy.

Amazon.com Inc rose 0.6% after it launched an online pharmacy for delivering prescription medications in the United States. Drug retailers such as Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc tumbled 9%, while CVS Health Corp fell 8% on the news.

Walmart Inc posted a bigger-than-expected increase in quarterly same-store sales. Home improvement chain Home Depot Inc also beat quarterly sales and profit estimates.

However, shares of both the blue-chip stocks dipped after increasing by nearly a quarter this year.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers 1.1-to-1 on the NYSE; on Nasdaq, a 0.6-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 12 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq Composite recorded 99 new highs and 10 new lows. (Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan, Medha Singh and Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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