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US stocks fall on mixed earnings, trade tensions; oil slumps

Stocks closed lower on Wall Street Wednesday, weighed down by a mixed batch of corporate earnings from big retailers. Lowe’s and Nordstrom were among the biggest decliners in the S&P 500 after the retailers reported quarterly results that fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. Target bucked the trend, surging after its latest results handily topped analysts’ forecasts. Chipmakers and other technology stocks also pulled the market lower, continuing a pattern of volatile trading as investors react to developments in the China trade dispute. Qualcomm plunged 10.9 percent following a federal judge’s ruling against the chipmaker in an antitrust case. Several other chipmakers also fell. Micron Technology fell 2.6 percent, Intel dropped 1 percent and Broadcom slid 2.2 percent. Investors hammered Lowe’s after the home improvement retailer slashed its outlook for the year following a weak first quarter. The company’s shares tumbled 11.8 percent, its biggest single-day decline in more than 28 years. Nordstrom also had a bad day, skidding 9.2 percent a day after the department store chain reported disappointing financial results. The company also cut its annual sales forecast.