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Stocks - S&P Ends Lower as Slump in GE Offsets Gains in Retailers

Investing.com - The S&P 500 fell modestly on Tuesday as gains in tech and retailers were offset by a fall in industrials, led by a slump in General Electric .

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.05%. The S&P 500 lost 0.11%, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.02%.

General Electric (NYSE:GE) tumbled as much as 7.7% before late buying trimmed the loss to 4.7%. The fall came after CEO Larry Culp said Tuesday free cash flow from the company's industrial segment is likely to remain negative this year amid ongoing struggles in its power business.

General Electric's pullback weighed on industrials, keeping a lid on gains in the broader market amid a rally in retailers thanks to above-consensus results from Target and Kohl's.

Target (NYSE:TGT) reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.53 a share, handily beating estimates from Investing.com for earnings of $1.52 a share. But revenue for the quarter missed estimates.

Kohl's (NYSE:KSS) posted mixed fourth-quarter results as earnings beat on the bottom line, but missed on top line as strength in children's and men's apparel were offset by women's classics and juniors.

The SPDR S&P Retail (NYSE:XRT) ETF ended the day 0.8% higher.

Communication services stocks, meanwhile, were also in favor, led by gains in Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), which together make up about 49% of the sector's market cap, following an upbeat Wall Street note.

"Both Alphabet and Facebook have growth drivers that could result in better performance in 2019 compared to 2018, including opportunities to increase online ad revenue," said CFRA, an independent research provider.

On the economic front, upbeat economic data showing a rebound in U.S. services and housing activity allayed some fears of a slowdown in the U.S. economy, supporting sentiment on stocks.

But global growth fears remained front and center after China said it would target growth in 2019 of 6.0% to 6.5%, down from the 6.6% gross domestic product growth reported last year, owing to the U.S. trade war, a slowing global economy and plans to reduce debt.

Falling energy stocks also played a role in the directionless trading day on Wall Street after oil prices settled roughly flat as investor attention shifted to a petroleum inventory report from the Energy Information Administration due at 10:30 a.m. ET (15:30 GMT) Wednesday.

In other corporate news, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) fell 3.1% adding to a 3.2% loss on Monday and a 7.8% loss on Friday, despite the company confirming it had reached a resolution with Chinese customs, after authorities had delayed shipments of the company’s Model 3 sedans into the country, citing misprinted vehicles labels.

Top S&P 500 Gainers and Losers Today:

Kohls (NYSE:KSS), Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) and Target (NYSE:TGT) were among the top S&P 500 gainers for the session.

Aon (NYSE:AON), DISH Network (NASDAQ:DISH) and Align Technology (NASDAQ:ALGN) were among the worst S&P 500 performers of the session.

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