US Stocks ended mostly lower after investor optimism was tempered by disappointing retail sales, uncertainty in fixed income markets and another choppy day on the bonds market.
Data from the US government showed that US retail sales were largely unchanged from a month before with most households cutting down on purchases of vehicles and other big ticket purchases.
The US department of Commerce reported that US retail sales remained flat at $436.8 billion. Analysts polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecasted a 0.2% growth in retail sales this month.
Stocks had opened strongly after the bell but pared gains after the data report with most investors looking out for signs that the economy was improving after a slow start to the year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed about 7.7 points or 0.04% lower at 18060.9 points weighed down by a decline in Dow component DuPont Co.
DuPont fell more than 6.8% after defeating activist investor Nelson Peltz to land board seats after shareholders reelected all of the company’s sitting directors.
The S&P 500 ended less than a point lower at 2098.48 after paring early morning gains on the disappointing retails data and another choppy day in the bonds market where yields rose to a 9-month high.
The technology heavy Nasdaq Composite bucked the losses in the major index to close 5.5 points higher at 4981 points.
Stronger economic growth is bullish for stock prices as it brightens the outlook for corporate earnings and better equity returns.
“Nothing seems to impact this market much on the negative side. But the weak retail sales suggest consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of the economy, is not taking off this quarter. This puts even a September rate hike into question,” Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital, told Market Watch
“But the bottom line why stock prices remain high is due to lack of alternatives,” he said.
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