U.S. Stocks Move Mostly Lower As Retail Sales Data Disappoints

Following the mixed performance seen in the previous session, stocks have moved mostly lower in morning trading on Tuesday. With the drop on the day, the Dow and the S&P 500 are pulling back off yesterday’s record closing highs.

Currently, the major averages are stuck firmly in negative territory. The Dow is down 271.27 points or 0.8 percent at 35,354.13, the Nasdaq is down 103.14 points or 0.7 percent at 14,690.62 and the S&P 500 is down 25.23 points or 0.6 percent at 4,454.48.

The weakness on Wall Street comes after the Commerce Department released a report showing U.S. retail sales tumbled by much more than expected in the month of July.

The report said retail sales slumped by 1.1 percent in July after climbing by an upwardly revised 0.7 percent in June.

Economists had expected retail sales to dip by 0.3 percent compared to the 0.6 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding a steep drop in sales by motor vehicles and parts dealers, retail sales fell by 0.4 percent in July after jumping by 1.6 percent in June. Ex-auto sales were expected to inch up by 0.1 percent.

A steep drop by shares of Home Depot (HD) is also weighing on the markets, with the home improvement retailer plunging by 4.5 percent after reporting second quarter earnings that beat estimates but weaker than expected same-store sales growth.

On the other hand, retail giant Wal-Mart (WMT) has moved to the upside reporting better than expected second quarter results and raising its full-year guidance.

Steel stocks have moved sharply lower amid concerns about the outlook for global demand, resulting in a 2.5 percent nosedive by the NYSE Arca Steel Index.

Considerable weakness is also visible among housing stocks, as reflected by the 2.3 percent slump by the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index.

The weakness in the housing sector comes after the National Association of Home Builders released a report showing homebuilder confidence fell to its lowest level in a year in August.

Airline, retail and semiconductor stocks are also seeing notable weakness on the day, while some strength has emerged among biotechnology and pharmaceutical stocks.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.4 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index plunged by 2 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets are turning in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has risen by 0.4 percent, the German DAX Index is down by 0.1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.3 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have pulled back near the unchanged line after seeing initial strength. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by less than a basis point at 1.258 percent.

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