Stock indexes are slipping in midday trading on Wall Street after several big U.S. retailers disappointed investors with weak profit forecasts.
Wal-Mart's stock dropped $2.64 to $68.67 after the retailer issued a weak outlook for fourth-quarter profits. Ross Stores also slid after predicting poor results for the holiday shopping season.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 57 points at 12,518 shortly before noon EST Thursday.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down six points at 1,349 and the Nasdaq composite was down 15 at 2,831.
Stocks have fallen since the Presidential election last week, when voters returned President Barack Obama and a divided Congress to power. Concern that political wrangling will stop lawmakers from reaching a deal on reducing the budget deficit has prompted the selling.