The pullback continues. U.S. stocks started lower on Wednesday after the government said retail sales fell in April, defying the expectations of analysts who had expected positive data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 129 points to 8,339. The S&P 500 Index declined 14 points to 893. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 18 points to 1,697. Nothing really looks good this morning. The retail sector is succumbing to profit-taking. Macys is down 6% after posting a small loss. Liz Clairborne is down 22% after posting a wider loss. Home Depot and Abercrombie & Fitch are unchanged following upgrades. Dr. Pepper Snapple is up 5% on earnings and Ann Taylor is up 6% on encouraging comments about their business. The financials keep pulling back due in part to more banks announcing plans to raise more capital. ING is down 11% after reporting a quarterly loss. State Street is one of the few financials trading higher thanks to an upgrade. The techs had some encouraging comments, but the sector is lower. IBM is down 2% even though they are comfortable with consensus 2010 estimates. Research in Motion is down 2% on an upgrade. Intel is unchanged on comments that the second quarter is better than expected. Seagate is down 4% after laying off a 1000 workers. The commodities are lower except for Potash. That stock is jumping 2% on an upgrade. The stock is up 100% since December. Following the first hour, the averages remained near the lows of the day. Through the morning the averages pushed lower. A select number of drug stocks like Pfizer and Merck are higher and that's about it. In the afternoon, more of the same. The financials are weak due in part to a new wrinkle coming out of Washington concerning legislation or Fed moves to curb compensation practices. In the last hour, no improvement. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 184 points, or 2.2%, at 8,284. The S&P 500 Index shed 24 points, or 2.7%, to stand at 883, while the Nasdaq Composite declined 51 points, or 3%, to 1,664.
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