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Consumer stocks diverge as Walmart disappoints, citing inflation

Shares in consumer discretionary and staples stocks were trading in opposite directions on Tuesday as encouraging retail sales data was countered by disappointing earnings and financial targets from Walmart, which blamed high inflation. Walmart shares closed down 11.4% after it reported a 25% quarterly earnings decline and cut its full-year profit outlook due to rising fuel and labor costs, while shoppers, squeezed by decades-high inflation on basic needs like food, reined in purchases of nonessential items. That put Walmart shares on track for its biggest daily percentage drop since an 11.79% tumble on Oct 16, 1987, the last trading session before the “Black Monday” stock market crash in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 22%.

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