Stocks fall despite solid retail earnings

Wall Street slid into the close as upbeat news from the retail sector failed to stop the selling.

The Dow fell 267 points. The S&P 500 dropped 35. The Nasdaq fell 75.

Jeff Tomasulo of Vespula Capital is concerned.

"Something is fundamentally, in price action has changed, where every sell-off over the last, say two years, or since the pandemic, every sell off has been met by massive buying. And we get back to our all time highs pretty quickly. Right now, I think the market is trying to find its footing to see if that's happening. Do we have enough buyers to push the Nasdaq higher? The S&P? I don't know if we do right now."

Walmart - the king of brick and mortar retail - raised full-year guidance after easily topping sales and profit forecasts. CEO Doug McMillon told analysts on a conference call that he's feeling more optimistic now than he was at the beginning of the year. Shares of Walmart climbed higher, but shares of its arch-rival Amazon moved lower.

Revenues and earnings at Home Depot exceeded expectations as well, but the home improvement retailer said the retail landscape is too murky to predict how business could fare going forward. Disappointed investors sent the stock lower.

Rounding out the retail detail: Macy's said America's speedy vaccination rollout is driving customers back to in-store shopping. The department store chain posted a surprise quarterly profit and boosted its full-year sales and profit outlook.

Economic news weighed on investor sentiment. The pace of new housing construction projects tumbled more than expected in April as homebuilders grappled with soaring raw material costs. Housing starts plunged 9-1/2 percent last month.