Wall Street turned in a mixed performance today after a fresh report on retail sales and a new oil price record told investors the same...
NEW YORK — Wall Street turned in a mixed performance today after a fresh report on retail sales and a new oil price record told investors the same old story: The economy is hurting and costs are rising, but things could be worse.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 44.13 to 12,832.18, having soared 130 points on Monday.
Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, fell 10 cents to close at $29.78 a share. Boeing, also a Dow stock, gained 28 cents to $85.08.
Broader indexes closed mixed. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.54 to 1,403.04, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 6.63 to 2,495.12.
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The Commerce Department’s latest report showed that retail sales fell by 0.2 percent in April, as expected. The data did show better-than-expected sales if automobiles were excluded but indicated Americans are reluctant to make big-ticket purchases — especially as soaring fuel prices cut into demand.
“The numbers are coming out weak, but the economy’s not falling apart,” said Alexander Paris, economist and market analyst for Barrington Research. “On balance, they were negative, but you’d expect them to be.”
Oil prices, meanwhile, spiked to a trading record of $126.98 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after Iranian news services reported Iran is considering an output cut. They later settled up $1.57 at $125.80.
Today’s stock trading reflected the market’s ongoing uncertainty about the economy. Brian Gendreau, investment strategist for ING Investment Management, believes investors won’t get a clear picture until more data is released in June and July.
“We’re going to go through a period where the markets are going to focus on the macro-data and any adverse piece of news about the credit markets,” he said. “It will be a trendless market until the uncertainties about a contraction in economic activity are resolved.”