Dow Retreats From Highs; Macau Slowdown Hits Melco Crown Shares

The stock market put the brakes on the Dow Jones Industrial Average's hot streak today, as the Dow finished lower for only the second time in its last nine sessions. Even with U.S. factory orders gaining more than expected in April -- advancing 0.7% -- Wall Street couldn't justify sending stocks to record highs for a third consecutive day. With Wal-Mart and 18 of its blue-chip peers all finishing in the red, the Dow lost 21 points, or 0.1%, to end at 16,722. Melco Crown Entertainment and Conn's also ended the day as notable laggards -- even though yesterday they were some of Wall Street's most brilliantly shining stars.

Mo' money, mo' problems
While Wal-Mart's 0.1% loss today is certainly insubstantial, the world's largest big-box retailer faces some gargantuan challenges that every Wal-Mart investor should be aware of. The most obvious threat to its business is, which has more than tripled its yearly revenue in the last five years (Wal-Mart's annual revenue was up just 16.7% in the same period). But if Amazon is the elephant in the room, the other large mammal in the room is the issue of labor costs and employee treatment. Wal-Mart is currently fighting allegations that it illegally punished workers who went on strike for higher pay in 2012 and 2013. Similar strikes are expected to occur again tomorrow in more than 20 cities, as the company holds its annual shareholder meeting.

Melco's 5-star-rated Altira Macau. Source: Melco Crown Entertainment.

Shares of a company making its bread and butter halfway across the world -- the Hong-Kong based Melco Crown Entertainment -- shed 5.9% today. Stock in the Macau casino operator enjoyed a 3.3% rally just yesterday, on the heels of robust Chinese manufacturing numbers. But just 24 hours later, Macau casinos were dealt a bad hand: gaming revenue increased by 9.3% last month in Macau. While that's the kind of growth Las Vegas casinos would be drooling over, the enormously high expectations for Macau made the number a disappointment.

Electronics and consumer goods retailer Conn's also had a rough go of it today, losing 3.1% by the sound of the closing bell. Unlike Wal-Mart and Melco Crown, Conn's fell despite a lack of looming threats, subpar May numbers, and mammals in the room. In fact, Conn's stock rallied 6.9% yesterday on the heels of a blowout first-quarter report in which same-store sales jumped 15.6% and customer credit improved. Today's pullback shouldn't concern long-term investors, especially after the company's most recent impressive quarter.

Top dividend stocks for the next decade
The smartest investors know that dividend stocks simply crush their non-dividend-paying counterparts over the long term. That's beyond dispute. They also know that a well-constructed dividend portfolio creates wealth steadily, while still allowing you to sleep like a baby. Knowing how valuable such a portfolio might be, our top analysts put together a report on a group of high-yielding stocks that should be in any income investor's portfolio. To see our free report on these stocks, just click here now.

The article Dow Retreats From Highs; Macau Slowdown Hits Melco Crown Shares originally appeared on

John Divine has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter, @divinebizkid, and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFDivine.The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2014 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read Full Story

Can't get enough business news?

Sign up for Finance Report by AOL and get everything from retailer news to the latest IPOs delivered directly to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.