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Walmart Buoys Dow; Techs Turn Weak

Stocks were mixed Tuesday as Walmart buoyed the Dow but most other retailers and tech stocks were weak.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up about 40 points in morning trading, led by Walmart. This came after the Dow eked out a 0.1-percent gainon Monday as a late rally erased earlier losses.

Walmart shares rose after the discount giant topped earnings its forecasts but said same-store sales fell 1.4 percent as customers have become less focused on low prices started buying more discretionary items. The company also delivered a weak outlook.

But outside of Walmart and a few others, most retailers were weak.

Home Depot shares gave up earlier gains. The home-improvement retailer beat earnings expectations and raised its outlookafter strong demand in the spring for gardening supplies and energy-efficient appliances.

The report comes a day after competitor Lowe's also beat estimates but disappointed investors with a weak outlook.

Saks beat earnings expectations as luxury spending has started to come back, allowing the upscale retailer to offer fewer promotions. However, the company projects slower growth in the current quarter and said it remains cautious due to the uncertain economic outlook.

Hewlett Packard shares rose ahead of earnings from the hardware and software maker, due out after the bell.

But chip stocks were weak, as were some other large-cap techs, including Dell, Cisco, Microsoft and Google.

Techs were actually the day's worst performer, along with financials and consumer discretionary. Materials, energy and industrials were the biggest gainers.

Euro-zone ministers scrambled to iron out details of the $1 trillion bailout plan as worries about Europe's ability to implement the plan and stem the debt contagion have rattled markets world-wide.

The dollar fellfrom its four-year high against the euro as worries about the debt crisis eased up.

Oil rebounded off an eight-month low to over $72 a barrel. Gold skiddednearly $20 to around $1,210 an ounce.

Gold has bounded through new highs in the past week, topping out around $1,250. And, while some project the metal, widely viewed as a safe haven amid all the market turbulence, could go as high as $2,000, Dennis Gartman said gold has reached its top.

Investors in gold should "rush to the exits," Gartman said in his daily note to clients. "We wish we'd have been able to send (the letter) to everyone earlier this morning when exiting the trade was wiser, but we've a time table to stand by and we are few hours late in exiting...but exit we must...entirely...upon receipt of this commentary."

In the morning's economic news, producer prices fell 0.1 percentin May. Housing starts hit a 1 1/2-year high in April, though building permits, a gauge of future building activity, fell.

Boeing announced that it would increase production of its narrow-body 737 model to 34 aircraft per month, due to strong demand from airlines as they rebound from the 2008 and 2009 recession.

And United Parcel Service , the world's largest package delivery service, announced strong growth expectations for its Asian business, adding that the volcanic ash cloud in Europe was not hampering its business.

New curbs for the market, a response to the "flash crash" a few weeks ago in which the Dow went into a freefall for about 20 minutes, are expected to be announced today, though they won't go into effect right away.

This Week:

TUESDAY: JPMorgan & Massey Energy shareholders meeting; Fed’s Pianalto speaks; housing starts; PPI, earnings from Home Depot, Wal-Mart & Hewlett-Packard
WEDNESDAY: FOMC minutes; Google developers’ conference; weekly mortgage apps; CPI; weekly crude inventories; earnings from Deere, Target, Applied Materials
THURSDAY: Toyota/NHTSA hearing; BOJ monetary policy meeting; weekly jobless claims; leading indicators; Philadelphia Fed survey; earnings from Computer Sciences, Gamestop, Staples, Dell, Gap
FRIDAY: Earnings from Ann Taylor

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