US stock indexes choppy midday as Treasuries advance

Benchmarks for U.S. equities were mixed in choppy midday trading Thursday, after a strong sell-off in the previous session, and government bonds rose.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3% to 31,385.4, and the S&P 500 slipped 0.1% to 3,918.8. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.7% to 11,498.4, recouping its earlier intraday declines. Consumer Staples, Industrials and Utilities led the declines, while Consumer Discretionary and Materials led the gains.

Kohl’s (KSS), a department store chain, cut its outlook for fiscal 2022 after first-quarter results fell short of expectations. The stock rose 3.5%.

“After a strong start to the quarter with positive single-digit comps through the end of March, sales declined significantly in April,” said chief executive Michelle Gass. The company “has encountered macroeconomic headwinds related to the catch-up from last year’s stimulus and an inflationary consumer environment,” he said.

On Wednesday, Target (TGT) sparked a selloff after the discount retailer said rising costs had eaten away at its quarterly earnings, echoing a similar comment from Walmart (WMT) earlier this week. Both stocks were down sharply at midday.

Existing home sales in the United States fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.61 million in April, their lowest level since June 2020, from 5.75 million the previous month, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. The consensus was for a drop to 5.65 million in a survey compiled by Bloomberg,

“The third straight drop in sales is no accident,” Pantheon Macroeconomics chief economist Ian Shepherdson said in a research note. “Activity is now clearly reacting to lower demand for mortgages, indicating that deeper declines are coming very soon.”

The US 10-year yield fell 5.1 basis points to 2.83%, extending its recent declines amid fears that economic growth could slow.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures rose $0.67 to $110.26 a barrel.

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