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David Becker

US stocks were lower on Tuesday as shares failed to continue Monday’s rally. Sectors in the S&P 500 index were mixed, led down by Energy shares as crude oil prices eased. Technology shares were the best performing sector in the S&P 500 index. Walmart shares initially shot out of the gate as the giant retailer announced better than expected financial results, but the shares faded into the close pulling down consumer staples. Treasury Secretary Mnenuchin and Fed Chair Powell testified on Tuesday in front of the Senate. US Housing starts tumbled in April to the lowest level in 5-years.

Walmart Announced Robust Financial Results

Walmart’s announced Tuesday that global revenue rose 8.6% to $134.62 billion and net income rose 4% to $4 billion. The retail giant reported that U.S. comparable sales, those from stores and digital channels operating for at least 12 months, rose 10% in the quarter ended May 1.

Additionally, Walmart announced it will discontinue Jet.com and phase out the brand. Four years ago, Walmart made a pricey bet on its e-commerce future. It paid $3.3 billion to buy Jet.com, an e-commerce startup that it hoped would attract younger, affluent and city-dwelling customers. Those investments have paid off as e-commerce growth. Last year, e-commerce sales grew by 37%. During the coronavirus pandemic, they shot up by 74% in the first.


Mnuchin and Powell Testify

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified alongside Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, and both men stressed that economic data from states that are beginning to reopen will determine the next steps in the federal response. Mnuchin told senators Tuesday that his department and the Fed are prepared to take losses in certain scenarios on the capital remaining to be distributed from the CARES Act.

US Housing Starts Tumble

US Housing starts tumbled 30.2% to an annual rate of 891,000 units last month, the lowest level since early 2015, according to the Commerce Department. Expectations had been for housing starts to fall to a pace of 927,000 units in April. Housing starts dropped 29.7% on a year-on-year basis in April. Homebuilding fell in all four regions last month.

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