US STOCKS-Wall St flat as home improvement retailers get Amazoned

* Sears soars after appliances deal with Amazon

* Home Depot, Best Buy, Lowe’s fall on Sears-Amazon deal

* Microsoft ticks up after the bell following results

* Dow down 0.13 pct, S&P 500 down 0.02 pct, Nasdaq up 0.08
(Updates to market close, changes byline)

By Kimberly Chin

NEW YORK, July 20 (Reuters) – Stocks ended little changed on
Wall Street on Thursday as a deal between Sears and Amazon
weighed on home improvement retailers while gains in Microsoft
helped buoy the Nasdaq.

Retailers and appliance makers fell after Sears
said it would sell its Kenmore home appliances on Amazon
and integrate the brand’s smart gadgets with the online
giant’s Alexa digital assistant.

Sears was up 10.6 percent at $9.60 and Amazon shares rose
0.2 percent.

Home Depot fell 4.1 percent, shaving off 40 points
from the Dow and weighing the most on the S&P 500. Retailers
Lowes and Best Buy, as well as appliance maker
Whirlpool, were down between 3.9 and 5.6 percent.

“I think a lot of earnings (beats) are due to the
low-interest-rate environment. Once you see a tick up in rates,
the earnings are going to be affected. But right now, it looks
like it’s going to continue. Earnings overall are very strong,”
said Anthony Conroy, president at Abel Noser in New York.

Microsoft shares rose 0.9 percent in after-hours
trading to $74.89 after it reported a quarterly profit that more
than doubled, helped by a tax benefit and strong growth in its
cloud business.

Overall earnings continue to beat expectations and major
indexes closed Thursday at or near all-time highs. Analysts are
estimating an 8.6 percent rise in second-quarter earnings and a
4.6 percent increase in revenue for the S&P 500 companies from a
year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 28.97 points,
or 0.13 percent, to close at 21,611.78, the S&P 500 lost
0.38 point, or 0.02 percent, to 2,473.45 and the Nasdaq
Composite added 4.96 points, or 0.08 percent, to

Despite the market’s continued attention on
business-friendly signs out of Washington, stocks did not react
to the White House’s announcement it had withdrawn or removed
from consideration more than 800 proposed regulations that were
never finalized during the Obama administration.

“It’s not going to make things any better, it just won’t
make them worse,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at
BMO Private Bank in Chicago.

“I see no tangible evidence that these regulation pullbacks
have helped the economy one iota.”

T-Mobile gained as much as 3.3 percent after the
wireless carrier’s quarterly results topped analysts’ estimates,
but reversed course in the afternoon and closed down 1.4 percent
at $61.12. Verizon rose 1.8 percent and AT&T added
1.1 percent.

Qualcomm fell 4.9 percent after the chipmaker’s
forecast missed estimates and several Apple suppliers
filed a lawsuit accusing Qualcomm of taking additional licensing
money over the assemblage of iPhones.

Property and casualty insurer Travelers closed down
1.5 percent after reporting a drop in quarterly profit.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a
1.01-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.14-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

About 5.92 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges,
compared with the 6.35 billion daily average over the last 20
(Reporting by Kimberly Chin in New York; Additional reporting
by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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