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Stocks sag under Walmart forecast, China slump

Trader Dennis Maguire works on the floor of

Trader Dennis Maguire works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Stock indexes shuffled to small loses Tuesday weighed down by a slump in Walmart's shares after the retailer cut its profit forecast for the year, and renewed concerns over the strength of China's economy.

At the close on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 33.8 points, about 0.2 percent, at 17,511.3. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 5.5 points, about 0.3 percent, to 2,197, and the Nasdaq composite sank 32.4 points, about 0.6 percent, to 5,059.4.

CRUDE NEWS: As markets closed, the price of oil inched above its recent six-year low, although analysts expect the supply glut that has pushed prices lower to persist. U.S. benchmark crude rose 75 cents to close at $42.62 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for October delivery, an international benchmark, rose 7 cents to close at $48.81 in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 0.7 cent to close at $1.647 a gallon. Heating oil rose 0.4 cent to close at $1.559 a gallon. Natural gas fell 2.4 cents to close at $2.704 per 1,000 cubic feet.

LOWERING THE BAR: Walmart sank after warning that its annual profit will likely be lower than previous estimates, partially a result of the strong dollar. The world's largest retailer also reported a drop in quarterly profit as it spent more on wages and overhauling its U.S. stores. Shares dropped $1.81, or 3 percent, to $70.10.

CHINA AGAIN: China's main Shanghai stock index plunged 6.2 percent, its largest fall since an 8.5 percent dive on July 27. The sell-off followed Beijing's efforts to ban major shareholders from selling stock.

"All the news out of China recently has done nothing to restore confidence in its financial markets," said David Madden, market analyst at IG, "and the ripple effect can be felt in Europe."


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