S&P 500 streak ends in choppy session; Dow at record

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks finished mixed Tuesday in a choppy session following disappointing Walmart earnings and a pullback in many petroleum stocks.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 18,312.93, up 14.05 points (0.08 per cent), finishing at an all-time high for the second day in a row.

But the broad-based S&P 500 fell 1.31 (0.06 per cent) to 2,127.89, ending a three-day streak of new record peaks, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 9.23 (0.20 per cent) to 4,503.72.

US housing starts leaped 20.2 per cent in April from March to an annual rate of 1,135,000 units, the best level of new home construction since November 2007.

Dow member Wal-Mart Stores fell 4.4 per cent after reporting a 7 per cent decline to US$3.3 billion (S$4.4 billion) in earnings for its fiscal first quarter ending April 30.

The results translated into US$1.03 per share, a penny shy of analyst expectations.

Many petroleum-linked stocks tumbled following a big retreat in oil prices, including Anadarko Petroleum (-1.7 per cent), Halliburton (-3.5 per cent) and Transocean (-5.9 per cent).