S&P 500 Falls 1.14%, Retail Sales Up 0.7% Amid Mixed Markets

S&P 500 falls 1.14% amid mixed economic signals, despite U.S. retail sales rising 0.7% in March, exceeding forecasts.

By Barry Stearns

4/15, 15:04 EDT
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Key Takeaway

  • S&P 500 fell by 1.14%, Dow by 0.64%, and NASDAQ by 1.68% despite a 0.7% increase in U.S. retail sales for March.
  • Information technology shares saw the largest decline at 1.8%, while health care shares marginally rose by 0.01%.
  • Commodity updates: Oil down by 0.6% to $85.17, gold up by 0.3% to $2,381.50, and silver increased by 1.6%.

U.S. Stocks Retreat Amid Economic Data

U.S. stock indices ended the day lower, with the S&P 500 dropping 1.14% to 5,065.04, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declining by 0.64% to 37,741.18, and the NASDAQ falling 1.68% to 15,902.96. This downturn in the stock market comes amidst a backdrop of mixed economic signals, including a notable increase in U.S. retail sales for March, which rose by 0.7% month-over-month, surpassing expectations.

Retail Sales Exceed Expectations

The Commerce Department highlighted a resilient consumer demand with retail sales climbing 0.7% in March, outpacing the forecasted 0.4% increase. This growth is particularly significant as it suggests a robust economic momentum, with sales excluding autos and gasoline jumping 1%. The control group sales, a critical component for GDP calculations, surged by 1.1%, marking the most substantial rise since the beginning of last year. This data points to a potentially strong first-quarter GDP, fueled by consumer spending.

Market Sectors and Commodities React

Despite the overall market downturn, health care shares saw a marginal increase of 0.01%, while information technology shares experienced a more significant drop of 1.8%. In the commodities market, oil prices declined by 0.6% to $85.17, whereas gold and silver prices saw increases, with gold trading up 0.3% at $2,381.50 and silver up 1.6% to $28.795. Copper also rose by 2.3% to $4.3575, reflecting varied investor sentiment across different asset classes.

Global Markets and Economic Indicators

European shares closed mostly higher, with the eurozone’s STOXX 600 up by 0.13%. In contrast, Asian markets closed mostly lower, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index experiencing declines. The eurozone reported a 0.8% month-over-month increase in industrial production for February, while the NY Empire State Manufacturing Index improved to -14.3 in April. These global and domestic economic indicators provide a mixed picture of the current financial landscape.