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Friday, February 19, 2016

Wall Street Update: US stocks lower, dragged by Wal-Mart

Wall Street fell late on Thursday morning after a three-day rally. A slump in Wal-Mart weighed on consumer stocks and as oil prices retreated, sectors that drove the three-day rally gave up some gains.

Crude oil prices, whose performance has been tightly tied to the stock market, dropped from session highs after a report showed U.S. crude stocks rose last week. Brent crude was flat.

Wal-Mart (WMT.N) slumped 4.4 percent to $63.23 after the retailer reported a lower quarterly profit and gave a lackluster sales outlook. 

The stock was the biggest drag on the Dow and also dragged down other consumer stocks.

Reuters reported that limiting the losses were shares of IBM (IBM.N), which rose 5.7 percent to $133.35 after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to "overweight" and the company made another health-related acquisition.

At 11:11 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 35.44 points, or 0.22 percent, at 16,418.39.

The S&P 500 .SPX was down 8.76 points, or 0.45 percent, at 1,918.06 and the Nasdaq Composite index .IXIC was down 33.08 points, or 0.73 percent, at 4,500.99.

A three-day rally, led by financial stocks, boosted the benchmark S&P 500 5.3 percent. But such has been the rout since the start of the year that the index is still down about 6.1 percent in 2016.

Economic data provided some relief. A report showed U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly fell to 262,000 last week, pointing to labor market strength that could keep a Federal Reserve rate hikes on the table this year.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,529 to 1,309. On the Nasdaq, 1,248 issues rose and 1,238 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed six new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 12 new highs and 21 new lows.

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