* Jobless claims near six-year low in latest week
* Wal-Mart shares fall after results
* Cisco drags down technology shares
* Indexes down: Dow 1.4 pct, S&P 1.4 pct, Nasdaq 1.6 pct
By Havovi Cooper
NEW YORK, Aug 15 U.S. stocks fell on Thursday,
as investors weighed disappointing results from blue chips
Wal-Mart and Cisco, along with sturdy economic data that looked
set to place the Federal Reserve on a path soon toward scaling
back its stimulus.
Wal-Mart shares fell 2.3 percent to $74.62 after the
discount retailer posted disappointing same-store sales and
missed revenue estimates for a fifth consecutive quarter. The
company also lowered its revenue and profit forecasts for the
"The Wal-Mart earnings report is as big a macro indicator as
(gross domestic product data)," said Nicholas Colas, chief
market strategist at ConvergEx Group in New York.
"It shows that (consumer spending) isn't that strong yet -
inflation is rising, wages are not, unemployment is still pretty
high and that's not a recipe for a strong retail environment."
Consumer prices rose broadly in July and new claims for
jobless benefits fell to a near six-year low last week, which
could draw the Fed closer to trimming its $85 billion monthly
bond-buying program. The stimulus measures have lifted stock
markets this year and kept interest rates low.
On Thursday, U.S. Treasury yields hit two-year highs as
market participants focused on how soon the Fed will scale back
its stimulus program, in the wake of more encouraging data.
The technology sector was the biggest laggard in the S&P
500, weighed by a slump in shares of Cisco Systems. The
network equipment maker said Wednesday it will shed 4,000 jobs,
or 5 percent of its workforce, to reduce costs. Shares declined
7.2 percent to $24.47 as a slew of brokerages cut their price
targets on the stock.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 213.78 points,
or 1.39 percent, to 15,123.88, the S&P 500 lost 23.69
points, or 1.41 percent, to 1,661.7 and the Nasdaq Composite
dropped 59.244 points, or 1.61 percent, to 3,610.03.
Trading volume has been low, as it tends to be in August,
and will likely continue to be lackluster as earnings season
One of the few bright spots in retail earnings was Kohl's
, which reported a rise in quarterly same-store sales,
sending its stock up 5.5 percent to $53.65.
Billionaire investor George Soros added another 2 million
shares to his already large investment in struggling retailer
J.C. Penney, a recent regulatory filing showed.
The retailer's stock was up 3.6 percent at