Stocks open lower; H-P, retailers slump

NEW YORK (AP) ? Stocks are opening lower on Wall Street after retailers reported disappointing earnings and computer maker Hewlett-Packard issued a weak profit forecast.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 31 points to 12,906 a few minutes after the opening bell. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was off 3 at 1,354 and the Nasdaq composite fell 6 to 2,927.

Grocery store operator Safeway Inc. plunged 9 percent, the most in the S&P 500, after reporting a 6 percent drop in profit.

Department store owner Kohl’s sank 5 percent after reporting that its profit shrank 8 percent during the fourth quarter on weak holiday sales. The results fell short of analysts’ estimates.

Hewlett-Packard Co. dropped 6 percent after issuing a disappointing profit outlook and a 7 percent decline in sales.