Stocks End Mixed, Dow Retreats Following Disappointing Retail Sales Data

The Dow Jones underperformed the broader market on Friday, as the S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose.

The Dow and broader U.S. stock market diverged on Friday, as investors evaluated the latest reports on retail sales and industrial production.

Wall Street’s major indices were mixed at the close, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) falling 201.81 points, or 0.6%, to 35,911.81.

The broad S&P 500 Index (SPY) of large-cap stocks rose 0.1% to settle at 4,662.85. Most sectors finished in positive territory.

Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ) climbed 0.6% to close at 14,893.75.

A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (VXX) declined on Friday. The so-called “investor fear index” reached an intraday low of 19.05 on a scale of 1-100, where 20 represents the historical average. It would eventually settle down 5.1% at 19.28.

In commodities, oil prices rose on Friday, as U.S. West Texas Intermediate advanced $2.11, or 2.6%, to $84.23 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the international futures contract, climbed $1.95, or 2.3%, to $86.42 a barrel.

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In precious metals, gold prices declined, as the February futures contract fell $4.90, or 0.3%, to $1,816.50 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver futures declined 19 cents, or 0.8%, to trade at $22.98 a troy ounce.

The Final Word: In economic data, U.S. retail sales declined unexpectedly in December, falling 1.9% month-over-month. Excluding automobiles, sales tumbled 2.3%. Separately, industrial production fell 0.1% during the same month versus expectations of a 0.4% gain.