Wal-Mart weighs on Dow; Stocks close mixed

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. pulled down the Dow Jones industrial average Monday after analysts at JPMorgan lowered their outlook for the company. The Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Nasdaq closed slightly higher.

JPMorgan's analysts say the world's largest retailer risks losing customers as low-income customers head to discount stores and other shoppers return to more expensive stores. Wal-Mart dropped 1.6 percent and was the weakest company among the 30 that make up the Dow Jones industrial average.

Stocks traded in a tight range throughout the day as investors weighed the impact of President Barack Obama's $3.73 trillion budget proposal for the next fiscal year.

Obama's budget includes a five-year freeze on many domestic spending programs. The White House contends the budget plan for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 puts the government on course to cut deficits by about $1.1 trillion over the coming decade.

Republicans and Democrats have sparred over how much spending to cut. The worry is that slashing spending could imperil the economic recovery.

Bond prices held steady after details of the budget proposal were revealed. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note edged down to 3.62 percent, slightly lower than late Friday. A jump in Treasury bond yields would suggest that investors see U.S. debt as increasingly risky.

MGM Resorts International Inc. fell 3 percent after reporting a loss of $139 million last quarter, a little narrower than analysts had expected.

The Dow fell 5.07 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 12,268.19. That's just the second time the Dow closed lower so far in February.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 3.17 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,332.32. The Nasdaq composite gained 7.74 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,817.18.

Stocks ended last week with a slight gain after the resignation of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. That helped push both the Dow and S&P 500 to their highest levels since June 2008.

Rising stocks outpaced falling ones by a small margin on the New York Stock Exchange. Consolidated trading volume was 3.59 billion shares.