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TheStreet Open House

Nothing to Yell About as Stocks Slip on Consumer Angst

Stocks in this article: ^GSPC ^IXIC ^DJI BBY CRM

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks closed lower on Tuesday after a choppy session as sluggish forecasts from Best Buy (BBY) and Salesforce.com (CRM - Get Report) exposed consumer uncertainty about the economic recovery and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development lowered it outlook on the global economy.

The S&P 500 lost 0.2% to close at 1,787.87 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.06% to 15,967.03. The Nasdaq slid 0.44% to 3,931.55. Despite the day's dour performance, the S&P 500 has gained 25% in 2013, poised for its best year since 1997. 

The OECD cut its global growth forecasts on Tuesday citing an expected slowdown in emerging market economies. The Paris-based organization lowered its global growth forecasts by 0.5 percentage points both this and next year to 2.7% and 3.6%, respectively. It also cited uncertainty around the U.S. budget and
Federal Reserve stimulus timing as potential risks to the global economy.

Best Buy was the worst performer in the S&P plunging 11% to $38.68 after the electronics retailer cautioned that competition may become more promotional in the fourth quarter causing Best Buy to have to be as well. That would negatively impact the company's gross margin by 80 to 90 basis points.

Markets have turned "a general stance of fear inot a small stance of greed," Doug Evans, senior managing director at Abbot Downing, said in a phone interview from San Francisco. People are becoming more confident on better and better data in housing, U.S. domestic economy, energy and advances in technology and health sciences, Evans said.

Campbell Soup  (CPB) lost 6.2% to $39.20 after the company cut its full-year guidance and missed fiscal first-quarter expectations as earnings plummeted 30% on a sluggish U.S. soup business and increased marketing costs.

Salesforce dropped 5% to $52.74 as Bernstein equity analysts Mark Moerdler and Emily Chan kept the stock at "underperform" on stock after the biggest maker of customer-management software forecast fourth-quarter earnings below estimates. They're concerned about slowing growth in Salesforce's core business and have low expectations for many of its initiatives, such as the Platform as a Service arm and enterprise social network, Chatter. Moerdler and Chan note that hosting costs will pressure the company's margins especially amid its acquisitions push.

Home Depot  (HD) shares added 0.89% to $80.38 after the home improvement supplies retailer once again hiked its full-year outlook and exceeded third-quarter estimates. Quarterly net earnings increased 42.7% year-on-year as U.S. comparable store sales rose 8.2%.

Tesoro Corporation  (TSO) was a bright spot, up 1.2% to $56.06 after the petroleum refiner and marketer agreed to sell the majority of its Los Angeles logistics assets to Tesoro Logistics  (TLLP)TLLP for $650 million. The deal is expected to close some time in the 2013 fourth quarter.

The employment cost index increased 0.4% for the third quarter after rising 0.5% in the second quarter, the Labor Department said Tuesday. The index is the broadest measure of labor costs, taking in wages and salaries as well as benefits.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak in Washington at 7 p.m. while Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans will speak on the economy and monetary policy in Chicago at 2:15 p.m.

Ten-year U.S. Treasuries were down 11/32, boosting the yield to 2.711%.

--By Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York

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