The stock market fell in trading on Friday afternoon erasing the slight gains which had been made during the week's trading. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) was down 0.16% for the day's trading at the time of writing. That leaves gains for the last five days at around 0.03% on the index, a poor week in what has so far been a buoyant year.
Since the start of 2013, the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) has risen by more than 6%, as corporate earnings delivered positive surprises and investors looked for returns in a recovering market. In the same period, the Nasdaq 100 has risen by almost 4% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up by 6.6%. All three indexes are trending downward today.
One of the most disappointing declines today came from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) stock. The firm's share price fell by more than 2% on a report of poor February sales performance. According to a Reuters report, the company's stock was the top drag on the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index.
The report, which came from Bloomberg, highlighted emails it had obtained as proof that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) was having a disastrous February sales period. An email from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) Vice President of Finance and Logistics, Jerry Murray, indicated that sales this month could be a disaster for the company. The market, fearing the executive's assessment might indeed be correct, has discounted the stock on the news.
The executive said in his email that the open of February was the worst start he had seen in his tenure at the firm. Murray has worked at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) for seven years, including the darkest days of the Great Recession. The firm responded to the leaked emails insisting that there was no proof that the perception of a single executive represented how the company was really doing. Investors were not convinced by the argument.
The DJI is down by around 0.06% in trading today. Wal-Mart Stores stock has lagged the market so far in 2013. The company's shares have increased by just 1.42% since the year began, well behind major indices. Yesterday's close had the firm's shares up 2.8% so far in 2013.
2013 is likely to be tough for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) as it seeks to do battle with online retailers who have a lower cost base. The firm's future hardly hangs in the balance, but its share price does, and that's what investors are worried about.