Stocks Opened Lower After Retail Sales

Stocks opened in negative territory on Monday, following a weaker-than-expected retail sales report.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately shed 62.21 points to 12,714.88. The S&P 500 index declined 5.99 points to 1,350.79. The Nasdaq Composite fell 16.17 points to 2,892.30.

Retail sales fell for a third straight month in June as demand slumped for everything from cars and electronics to building materials, a sign the economic recovery is flagging. Retail sales slipped 0.5 percent, the Commerce Department said on Monday.

Economists say the sales and profit gains of early this year are disappearing, and they are increasingly pessimistic about short-term growth. They also are gloomy because of the potential impact in the U.S. from Europe’s financial crisis, the possible expiration of the Bush tax cuts in December, and the prospect of major cuts in federal spending.

Citigroup Inc.’s second-quarter profit fell 12% from a year earlier amid a decline in revenue and a smaller benefit from releasing reserves set aside for losses from defaulting loans. The $2.9 billion profit, roughly flat from the prior quarter, beat the average analyst estimate. Revenue fell 9.7% from a year earlier, to $18.6 billion.

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