Stocks usually open lower on Wall Street; Walmart lifts Dow. on

NEW YORK — Shares open largely lower on Wall Street on Tuesday, despite some encouraging results from Walmart and Home Depot, both of which beat analysts’ forecasts for last-quarter earnings. the SThe &P 500 index fell just 0.1% to begin with, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq was slightly more off the mark. The Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 major blue chips made a small gain, mainly due to a gain in Walmart. European markets were slightly higher and Asian markets closed mixed overnight. Energy prices were mixed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.84%.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Below is AP’s previous story.

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street had nearly made up for the night’s losses and moved to gains Tuesday after a number of bellwether retailers reported strong second-quarter gains, suggesting Americans have continued to spend despite the worst inflation in 40 years.

Futures for the Dow and S&P fell less than 1% each in premarket trading.

Retail giants Walmart and Home Depot, whose quarterly financial results often give investors insight into broader consumer habits, both reported strong second-quarter gains, boosting markets before the opening bell.

Walmart made $5.15 billion, or $1.77 adjusted for one-time expenses and charges, easily surpassing Wall Street’s target of $1.62 per share. Sales also beat analysts’ forecasts, and stocks rose more than 4% before the opening bell.

Home Depot reported record quarterly earnings and sales, but shares fell less than 1% as the home improvement retailer maintained its expectations for the year.

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Shares had their best month in a year and a half in July, but some analysts say prices don’t accurately reflect real risks.

“It doesn’t seem to matter what the news is, there’s just a huge appetite to buy stocks. And to keep buying,” said Clifford Bennett, chief economist at ACY Securities. “It seems a bit premature to say that the bottom has already been priced in. Should the market fall again after all this long positioning, it will fall with a resounding impact. Attention buyers.”

Shares in Europe rose and Asian markets were mixed a day after China reported negative economic data and analysts warned that volatility is ahead.

The Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 had changed little and ended at 28,868.91. The South Korean Kospi rose 0.2% to 2,533.52 points. Australian S&P/ASX 200 added 0.6% to 7,105.40. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng reversed, falling 1.1% to 19,830.52, while the Shanghai Composite gained close to 0.1% to 3,277.88.

Markets reacted to the news that China’s central bank cut a key rate, recognizing that more needs to be done to support the economy. The move is the latest warning of markets already on edge against record high inflation and recession fears in the US and elsewhere.

China is the world’s second largest consumer of crude oil, so the news weighed on energy prices on Monday, but was up slightly on Tuesday. US crude gained 74 cents to $90.15 a barrel. Brent oil, the international standard, rose 43 cents to $95.53.

In Europe, the French CAC 40 was up 0.4% in midday trading and the German DAX 0.5%. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.7%.

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Global investors are concerned that the US Federal Reserve could step on the brakes too hard and send the economy into recession. Any signal that inflation could spike or retreat has allayed some of those concerns.

“Lack of direction is what investors will suffer until we see clearer signs of declining inflation. And that will take time, as we need to see some encouraging data to call the central bank’s fight against inflation a success. The lack of clear direction is driving the markets up and down,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank.

Investors are also closely monitoring how inflation affects businesses and consumers. Spending has slowed and the economy in general has contracted for two quarters in a row.

Following the lead of Walmart and Home Depot, Target will report results on Wednesday. The U.S. Department of Commerce will also release its July retail sales report on Wednesday. Economists surveyed by FactSet expect modest growth of 0.2% from June, when sales rose 1%.

In currency trading, the US dollar rose from 133.27 yen to 134.39 Japanese yen. The euro cost $1,0130, down from $1,0165.


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