As Wal-Mart, Cisco Slump, U.S. Stocks Are Little Changed

According to Bloomberg,

U.S. stocks were little changed, after benchmark indexes rose to records yesterday, as Cisco Systems Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. slumped before testimony from the Federal Reserve’s Janet Yellen.

Cisco tumbled 13 percent after its profit forecast missed projections. Wal-Mart and Kohl’s Corp dropped after the retailers cut their forecasts.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose less than 0.1 percent to 1,782.61 at 9:32 a.m. in New York. The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed to a records yesterday as Macy’s Inc. led a rally among retailers.

“We saw Macy’s earnings support the market yesterday, and I think Wal-Mart’s are going to weigh on the market today,” Chris Gaffney, St. Louis-based senior market strategist at EverBank Wealth Management, said in a phone interview. “The fourth quarter is what everyone has got to count on. There’s a lot of worry in the markets right now about just how much spending consumers will be doing.”

After the close of U.S. exchanges yesterday, Yellen said the economy and labor market are performing short of their potential and must improve before the central bank can begin to reduce monetary stimulus.

‘More Normal’

“Supporting the recovery today is the surest path to returning to a more normal approach to monetary policy,” Yellen said in prepared remarks for her nomination hearing before the Senate Banking Committee today to succeed Ben S. Bernanke as chairman. The hearing is scheduled from 10 a.m. in Washington.

Fed policy makers will probably pare the monthly pace of bond buying to $70 billion at their March 18-19 meeting, according to the median of 32 estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists on Nov. 8. The group next meets Dec. 17-18.

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