Weakness in retailers and energy companies pull stocks lower

NEW YORK (AP) – Stock indexes ended lower Wednesday after a day of wavering between small gains and losses. A weak report from Macy’s pushed retail stocks lower, and energy stocks retreated as the price of oil fell.

Macy’s plunged 14 percent, its largest one-day drop in seven years. Other retailers slumped as investors took its results as a warning about third-quarter sales and the upcoming holiday shopping season.

October’s big rally is fading into the distance, but most of the market’s recent losses have been small. Stocks have lost ground for five of the last six trading days, leaving the market with a meager gain for the year to date.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 55.99 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,702.22. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 6.72 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,075. The Nasdaq composite gave up 16.22 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,067.02.

Macy’s third-quarter sales were lower than analysts expected, prompting the owner of the Bloomingdale’s chain to cut its profit forecast for the year. Macy’s also said it will close more stores. Its shares sank $6.58, or 14 percent, to $40.44.

Citi Investment Research analyst Paul Lejuez said fewer people bought winter clothes like boots and coats in the third quarter because the weather was warm. That meant they were less likely to go shopping for clothes at all, so inventories built up and discounts increased. That’s a troubling sign around two weeks before Black Friday.

“That’s bad for anybody that competes against Macy’s,” he said.

Investors dumped shares of other retailers following the trouble at Macy’s.

Kohl’s fell $2.44, or 5.4 percent, to $43.16 and Nordstrom dropped $2.41, or 3.7 percent, to $62.32. Urban Outfitters fell $2.12, or 7.4 percent, to $26.59. PVH Corp., the company behind the Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands, lost $4.67, or 5 percent, to $88.26.

In energy trading, the price of oil dropped 3 percent after a report showed a big buildup in U.S. crude stockpiles. The American Petroleum Institute said supplies grew by 6.3 million barrels, far more than analysts expected, according to Price Futures Group analyst Phil Flynn.

U.S. crude slid $1.28 to $42.93 a barrel in New York and Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, lost $1.63 to $45.81 a barrel in London.

The two largest beer makers in the world said they have hammered out the terms of a deal. The $107 billion joining of AB InBev and SABMiller brings together brands including Budweiser, Corona, Grolsch and Stella Artois. The combined company will make about a third of the world’s beer. Shares of AB InBev rose $2.18, or 2.8 percent, to $121.63.

As part of the agreement, SABMiller will sell its majority stake in a U.S. joint venture to Molson Coors for $12 billion. Molson Coors added $3.88, or 4.4 percent, to $92.19.

E-commerce giant Alibaba said it smashed records during the “Singles Day” holiday. Alibaba said it received 467 million orders, worth about $14.3 billion. That didn’t translate into gains for its stock, which fell $1.58, or 1.9 percent, to $79.85.

Security company ADT added $1.44, or 4.4 percent, to $34 after its fiscal fourth quarter profit surpassed analysts’ estimates.

Drugmaker Horizon Pharma sank 20 percent as it continued a dispute with pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts. Horizon said it is questioning its relationship with Express Scripts, which is suing Horizon and took a pharmacy that dispenses Horizon’s drugs out of its network. It’s the latest tussle between drugmakers and companies that pay for their products. Horizon shares have lost about half their value since the end of July.

Shares of Horizon lost $4.39 to $17.99.

The price of gold declined $3.60 to $1,084.90 an ounce. Silver fell 9.3 cents to $14.26 an ounce. Copper was little changed at $2.218 a pound.

In other energy trading, heating oil fell 3.9 cents to $1.448 a gallon and wholesale gasoline shed 3.2 cents to $1.329 a gallon. Natural gas declined 5.7 cents to $2.263 per 1,000 cubic feet.

The dollar slipped to 122.84 yen from 123.25 yen. The euro rose to $1.0740 from $1.0707.

Bond trading was closed for Veteran’s Day.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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