US stocks fall on tax cut doubts, holiday shopping anxiety

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks tumbled early Wednesday (Nov 15) on ongoing doubts about the prospects for US tax cuts, and worries about the holiday shopping season following a weak outlook from retail giant Target.

Analysts described rising skepticism about the likelihood of US tax reform will be approved, following news the Senate bill would link the legislation to controversial Republican health care proposals.

Other factors behind the drop included another retreat in oil prices and lackluster US retail sales and inflation data. The decline also came as bourses in Paris, London and Frankfurt fell.

About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 23,269.88, down 0.6 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.7 per cent to 2,559.97, while the tech-rich Nasdaq composite Index dropped 0.9 per cent to 6.677.13.

Big-box retailer Target sank 8.4 per cent after forecasting fourth-quarter comparable sales would be anywhere from flat to up 2 per cent. The company also projected a fourth-quarter profit range that was lower than analysts expected.

Other retailers fell, including Wal-Mart Stores, Best Buy and Williams-Sonoma.