David Becker
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U.S. stocks were mixed on Tuesday as the Dow and S&P continued to slide while the Nasdaq closed in the black. Most sectors in the S&P 500 index were lower led down by Energy shares. Real Estate bucked the trend. Existing Home Sales came in slightly weaker than expected while U.S. consumer confidence declined. The Justice Department announced that it was suing Walmart, and Q3 GDP was revised slightly higher.

The U.S. Sues Walmart

The White House sued Walmart Inc., accusing the retail giant of helping to fuel the nation’s opioid crisis for inadequately screening for questionable prescriptions. The Justice Department’s lawsuit claims Walmart sought to boost profits by understaffing its pharmacies and pressuring employees to fill prescriptions quickly. That made it difficult for pharmacists to reject invalid prescriptions, enabling widespread drug abuse nationwide, the suit alleges.

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Existing-Home Sales Slip

According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales fell 2.5% on a month-to-month basis an annualized rate of 6.69 million units. Sales were a healthy 25.8% higher year over year. There were just 1.28 million homes available for purchase at the end of November. That is down 22% from a year earlier and represents a  2.3-month supply at the current sales pace. The median price of an existing home sold in November was $310,800, a 14.6% increase from November 2019.

U.S. Consumers Confidence Slides

U.S. consumer confidence dropped for a second straight month in December, according to the Conference Board. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell to a reading of 88.6 this month, the lowest since August, from 92.9 in November. Economists expected the index to rise to 97.0 in December. The index was at 132.6 in February.

U.S. GDP Was Revised Higher

According to the Commerce Department, U.S. Gross domestic product rebounded at a 33.4% annualized rate last quarter. That was revised slightly up from the 33.1% pace reported last month. It followed a 31.4% contraction rate in the April-June quarter, the deepest since the government started keeping records in 1947.  Expectations were for GDP to remain unrevised at a 33.1% rate.

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