(Corrects name of chain store in second line of second paragraph to TJ Maxx from TJX Maxx.)
* Retailers down after earnings
* AstraZeneca investor protests spurning of Pfizer bid
* Aeroflex jumps, to be acquired by Cobham for $1.46 bln
* Indexes off: Dow 0.37 pct, S&P 0.32 pct, Nasdaq 0.45 pct
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, May 20 U.S. stocks dipped on Tuesday, weighed down by retailers after earnings from TJX Companies and Staples.
TJX shares slumped 5.7 percent to $55.07 as the biggest drag on the S&P 500 after the owner of off-price chain stores TJ Maxx and Marshalls reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue.
Staples Inc tumbled 10.8 percent to $11.95 after the office supply retailer posted first-quarter earnings and forecast a decline in sales in the current quarter. The S&P retail index fell 0.4 percent.
"A lot of the rest of these companies, unless they are solely focused on the East Coast, there was decent weather in other parts of the country, so that is kind of disturbing," said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst, Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.
Caterpillar shares dropped 1.8 percent to $103.45 after the heavy machinery company said retail statistics for the three-month rolling period ending in April were down 13 percent.
"So not only is the retail sector not doing well but neither is heavy construction. It's a little more concerning in the larger equipment realm because to me that says new projects aren't being picked up either," Forrest said.
Dick's Sporting Goods estimated current-quarter earnings way below analysts' average estimate and cut its full-year 2014 adjusted earnings and same-store sales growth forecasts due to weak demand for its golf and hunting products. Its shares plunged 15.7 percent to $44.80.
But Home Depot rebounded from premarket declines after the company's chief financial officer said sales in May were "robust," taking the sting out of its disappointing quarterly results. Its shares rose 1.8 percent to $77.90 as the best performer on the S&P 500.
Equities have pulled back more than 1 percent since hitting their most recent record high May 13 as economic data has painted a mixed picture and failed to confirm an acceleration in the economy that many had hoped to see.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 60.3 points, or 0.37 percent, to 16,451.56, the S&P 500 lost 6.04 points, or 0.32 percent, to 1,879.04 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 18.56 points, or 0.45 percent, to 4,107.25.
U.S.-listed shares of AstraZeneca advanced 2 percent to $72.07 after its twelfth largest shareholder, Schroders, joined a chorus of investor disapproval over its rejection of a takeover offer by Pfizer and urged it back into talks.
Aeroflex Holding Corp jumped 25.8 percent to $10.45. British aerospace and defense supplier Cobham is buying the U.S. communications equipment maker for $1.46 billion. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)