Stocks decline following disappointing retail sales report.
The U.S. stock market drifted lower on Wednesday after government data showed a surprise drop in retail sales last month, raising fresh warnings about the health of the economy.
All of Wall Street’s major indices finished in negative territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) fell 22.62 points, or 0.1%, to 27,002.18.
The broad S&P 500 Index (SPY) fell 0.2% to close at 2,989.69. Losses were mainly concentrated in energy and information technology stocks. On the opposite side of the ledger, consumer discretionary and materials companies traded firmly higher.
The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ) fell 0.3% to settle at 8,124.18.
A measure of 30-day volatility known as the CBOE VIX drifted higher on Wednesday and eventually peaked at 14.26 on a scale of 1-100 where 20 represents the historic average. VIX would eventually settle up 1.5% at 13.74.
In economic data, U.S. retail sales declined unexpectedly in September, a sign that the consumer-spending component of the economy was beginning to weaken.
Receipts at retail stores fell 0.3% in September, confounding expectations of a 0.3% gain, the Department of Commerce reported Wednesday. The August number was revised up to reflect gains of 0.6% from the 0.4% reported previously.
Excluding automobiles, retail sales fell 0.1% in September, official data showed.
Separately, businesses inventories unexpectedly flat-lined for the month of August.
The National Association of Home Builders’ housing market index improved to 71 in October from 68 in September.
The Final Word: Stocks continue to hover near record levels as attention shifts to corporate earnings. Wall Street is bracing for another quarter of declining profitability as trade-war uncertainty and foreign-exchange volatility weigh.