* Best Buy tumbles after holiday sales results, outlook
* Goldman, Citi earnings weigh on bank stocks
* Initial claims slip, CPI rises over prior month
* Indexes off: Dow 0.34 pct, S&P 0.22 pct, Nasdaq 0.04 pct
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Jan 16 U.S. stocks modestly came off
their fresh highs from a day earlier in the wake of a stunning
drop on Thursday in shares of retailer Best Buy.
Best Buy Co Inc plunged 27 percent to $27.43, easily
the worst performer on the benchmark S&P 500, after the No. 1
consumer electronics chain reported a drop in holiday sales and
forecast a bigger-than-expected decline in quarterly operating
Financials stocks also weighed on the Dow and S&P indexes.
Goldman Sachs shed 1.5 percent to $176 as the biggest drag
on the Dow, while Citigroup Inc dropped 3.3 percent to
$53.20 as the biggest weight on the S&P 500. The S&P financial
index lost 0.5 percent, the worst performer among the 10
major S&P sectors.
After a lackluster start to 2014 on concerns stock
valuations may too high after a 30-percent rally in the S&P 500
last year, the index surged 1.6 percent over the past two
sessions to a fresh high Wednesday, its first since Dec. 31.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 56.77 points,
or 0.34 percent, to 16,425.17, the S&P 500 lost 4.15
points, or 0.22 percent, to 1,844.23 and the Nasdaq Composite
dropped 1.61 points, or 0.04 percent, to 4,213.273.
UnitedHealth Group Inc weighed on the Dow even as
the largest U.S. health insurer reported a higher fourth-quarter
profit and the addition of 170,000 members, and said 2014
earnings would improve. Its shares fell 2.8 percent to $72.70.
CSX Corp slumped 7.1 percent to $27.15 after the
railroad late Wednesday posted a smaller fourth-quarter profit
on weak coal volume.
Apollo Global Management LLC said it would buy CEC
Entertainment Inc, the parent of Chuck E Cheese
restaurant chain, for about $948 million. CEC shares jumped 12.7
percent to $54.60.
Twelve companies in the S&P 500 are scheduled to report on
Thursday, including chipmaker Intel Corp after the
Data pointed to an economy that continues to grow at a slow,
but steady pace.
The consumer price index increased 0.3 percent after being
flat in November while the core CPI, which strips out volatile
food and energy prices, rose only 0.1 percent, slowing from a
0.2 percent gain in November, which suggested underlying
inflation is muted.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 2,000
to a seasonally adjusted 326,000 and claims for the prior week
were revised to show 2,000 fewer applications received than
previously reported, suggesting a sharp slowdown in job growth
in December was likely to be temporary.
"We've made a nice run and the market is entitled to
consolidate and use sort of a 'wait-and-see' attitude as far as
earnings are concerned," said Terry Morris, senior equity
manager for National Penn Investors Trust Company in Reading,
Other data showed homebuilder confidence faded a bit at the
start of 2014, as the The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index
dipped to 56 points in January from a downwardly revised 57 in
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business
activity index stood at 9.4 points in January compared with 6.4
in December and beating the median forecast of 8.6 of economists
for January, but firms' outlook for the months ahead worsened.