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US STOCKS-S&P 500 near unchanged; Walmart and other retailers gain

·2 min read

(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click or type LIVE/ in a news window)

* Walmart sees smaller profit drop this year

* Home Depot beats sales estimates

* U.S. yields rise as retail data points to more Fed tightening

* Indexes: Dow gains 0.5%, S&P 500 down 0.1%, Nasdaq down 0.5% (Updates to late afternoon, adds NEW YORK dateline)

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Aug 16 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 was near flat in late trading on Tuesday as Walmart and Home Depot gained following stronger-than-expected results and outlooks, while technology shares declined.

The Dow was solidly higher and the Nasdaq was down.

The S&P 500 consumer discretionary and staples sectors gave the benchmark index its biggest boost, while the S&P 500 retail index was up 1.7%.

Walmart Inc shares jumped 5.4% and Home Depot Inc added 4.3%. Walmart forecast a smaller drop in full-year profit than previously projected, while Home Depot surpassed estimates for quarterly sales.

The 10-year Treasury yield rose, weighing on high-growth stocks.

After struggling for most of the first half of the year, stocks have bounced since mid-June, helped in part by better-than-expected earnings from Corporate America.

Investors have also been optimistic the Federal Reserve can achieve a soft landing for the economy as it tightens policy and raises interest rates to reduce decades-high inflation.

"When you transition from a bear market to a bull market, especially one where the Fed is raising rates and there are concerns over the consumer, you really want to see consumer discretionary underpinned by enthusiasm. And today's move in discretionary names is positive for the market," said Quincy Krosby, chief global strategist for LPL Financial in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 166.27 points, or 0.49%, to 34,078.71, the S&P 500 lost 3.09 points, or 0.07%, to 4,294.05 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 69.28 points, or 0.53%, to 13,058.78.

Traders are now seeing a 60% chance of a 50 basis-point hike by the U.S. central bank in September and a 40% chance of a 75 basis-point hike.

Investor sentiment is still bearish, but no longer "apocalyptically" so, according to BofA's monthly survey of global fund managers in August.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.33-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.06-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 8 new 52-week highs and 29 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 77 new highs and 36 new lows. (Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch in New York Additional reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar, Susan Mathew and Anisha Sircar in Bengaluru Editing by Anil D'Silva and Matthew Lewis)