Stocks fell lower on Tuesday as the prospect of higher-for-longer interest rates continue to pressure market sentiment and the latest corporate earnings reports for big-box retails raised concerns over the health of the U.S. consumer. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped nearly 700 points, while the S&P 500 Index and Nasdaq Composite fell 2% and 2.5%, respectively.

Here's how the market settled to start the week:

S&P 500 Index (SPY  ): -2.00% or -81.70 points to 3,997.39

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA  ): -2.06% or -696.31 points to 33,130.38

Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ  ): -2.50% or -294.97 points to 11,492.30

Dow-components Home Depot (HD  ) and Walmart (WMT  ) warned on Tuesday that the U.S. consumer is now showing signs of waning spending in response to persistently high inflation.

Home Depot reported mixed fourth quarter earnings--missing revenue expectations for the first time since 2019--and issued a muted outlook for the next year as the retailer prepares for a shift in consumer spending amid a housing market slowdown.

Walmart, however, reported better-than-expected earnings but warned in a cautious outlook that consumers shopping for lower-priced items may negatively impact the big-box retailer's margins as shoppers respond to inflationary pressures.

"The consumer is still very pressured," said CFO John David Rainey during Walmart's earnings call. "And if you look at economic indicators, balance sheets are running thinner and savings rates are declining relative to previous periods. And so that's why we take a pretty cautious outlook on the rest of the year."

On the economic front, U.S. existing homes sales fell 0.7% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4 million units in January, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) report on Tuesday, reaching their lowest level in more than 12 years. This also marked the 12 straight month of declines.

"Home sales are bottoming out," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a statement. "Prices vary depending on a market's affordability, with lower-priced regions witnessing modest growth and more expensive regions experiencing declines."

Wall Street was closed on Monday for Presidents Day in the United States. On Friday, the Dow posted its third-straight week of losses for the first time since September, while the S&P 500 Index notched its second week in the red. The Nasdaq Composite bucked the trend and rose 0.6% last week.

Looking ahead, market participants will parse through minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's latest meeting on Wednesday for more clues on the Fed's next moves ahead of its March policy decision. Earnings reports from companies like Nvidia (NVDA  ), Baidu (BIDU  ), Alibaba (BABA  ), and Booking (BKNG  ) are slated for the week ahead.