Walmart 2.2% drop pulls US stocks lower

A sharp fall in shares of the world's largest retailer Walmart pulled stocks lower Friday, though more steep losses were averted by a late-in-the-day rebound.

At the closing bell, the broad-based S&P 500 was down 1.59 points (0.10 percent) to 1,519.79.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 8.37 points (0.06 percent) at 13,981.76, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite slid 6.63 points (0.21 percent) to 3,192.03.

Walmart shares lost 2.2 percent to $69.30 after a news report cited company documents saying the company's sales so far in February were a "total disaster."

Earlier, the shares plunged more than three percent after the Bloomberg report cited parts of internal emails blaming the rise in payroll taxes for the worst start in seven years for February sales.

Energy company Apache fell 4.3 percent after its scaled back growth forecasts disappointed investors.

Blackberry shares sank 6.1 percent, taking its loss for the week to more than 14 percent, as enthusiasm for its new phones and operating system waned amid more signs it faces an uphill battle to build smartphone market share.

Shares of Carnival Corp. lost another 1.2 percent, taking a loss after a week that proved a public relations disaster to 5.4 percent.

The cruise ship operator's Carnival Triumph vessel was finally towed back to port late Thursday after being adrift in the Caribbean without power for five days.

CBS Corp. jumped 4.0 percent after reporting record results and announcing a $1 billion accelerated share repurchase plan.

Herbalife finished up 1.2 percent after an early surge following news that corporate raider Carl Icahn had accumulated a nearly 13 percent stake in the company.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond rose to 2.01 from 2.00 late Thursday, while the 30-year was unchanged at 3.18. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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