US STOCKS-Wall Street retreats as retail sales growth slows

US STOCKS-Wall Street retreats as retail sales growth slows

Reuters  | Aug 14, 2020 22:20

US STOCKS-Wall Street retreats as retail sales growth slows

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* Applied Materials Inc rises on strong Q4 outlook
* Retail sales rise 1.2% in July vs 7.5% gain in June
* Tesla rises on Morgan Stanley upgrade
* Indexes off: Dow 0.25%, S&P 0.03%, Nasdaq 0.03%

(Updates to market open)
By Ambar Warrick and Medha Singh
Aug 14 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 slipped further away from
record levels on Friday as domestic retail sales growth slowed
in July, adding to worries about a wobbly post-pandemic economic
recovery in the absence of a new U.S. fiscal stimulus bill.
Technology .SPLRCT led declines among the 11 major S&P
indexes, while the real estate sector .SPLRCR — commonly
considered defensive — outperformed.
Aggressive stimulus measures have helped Wall Street's three
main indexes bounce from a coronavirus-driven crash in March,
and the S&P 500 briefly traded above its Feb. 19 record close
for a second straight day on Thursday.
But the benchmark index has struggled to top its all-time
high of 3,393.52, also hit on Feb. 19, as the domestic economy
continues to struggle.
Data on Friday showed U.S. retail sales increased less than
expected last month and could slow further due to spiraling
COVID-19 cases and a reduction in unemployment benefit checks.
The figures also came on the heels of data suggesting a slowdown
in China's nascent rebound. "The state of the consumer and the ability and the interest
to spend is going to be key in self sustaining the economic
recovery," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at
Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia.
A deadlock between top Democrats and the White House over
more stimulus measures to support the economy has also been a
major point of focus.
Uncertainty over the timing of an agreement has undercut
sentiment in recent sessions, with the upcoming U.S.
presidential elections expected to add another layer of caution.
At 10:00 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI
was down 71.07 points, or 0.25%, at 27,825.65, the S&P 500
.SPX was down 0.90 points, or 0.03%, at 3,372.53, and the
Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 3.31 points, or 0.03%, at
Applied Materials Inc AMAT.O rose 6.9% after it forecast
fourth-quarter revenue above analysts' estimates following a
rebound in demand for chip equipment and services. The Philadelphia chip index .SOX rose 0.8%.
Electric car maker Tesla TSLA.O rose 2.3% after Morgan
Stanley upgraded the stock, citing potential in the firm's
battery business. Chinese search engine giant Baidu Inc BIDU.O posted
quarterly revenue a notch above estimates, but its shares slid
6.2% after its streaming service iQIYI IQ.O said it was being
probed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Shares of iQIYI dropped 10.2%.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers 1.54-to-1 on the NYSE
and 1.69-to-1 on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded six new 52-week highs and no new low,
while the Nasdaq recorded 25 new highs and five new lows.

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