Stocks Opened Lower after Mixed Economic Data

U.S. stocks opened lower on Tuesday following mixed economic data a day before the Federal Reserve concludes its policy meeting. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately dropped 68.34 points, or 0.40%, to 17,160.79. The S&P 500 shed 10.68 points, or 0.53%, to 2,008.96. The Nasdaq Composite was down 22.42 points, or 0.47%, to 4,727.86.

U.S. retail sales fell less than expected in February, but a sharp downward revision to January’s sales could reignite concerns about the economy’s growth prospects. etail sales dipped 0.1 percent last month as automobile purchases fell and cheaper gasoline undercut receipts at service stations. January’s retail sales were revised down to show a 0.4 percent decline instead of the previously reported 0.2 percent increase.

Oil prices fell for a second day on Tuesday, as concerns emerged that a six-week rally may have fizzled after OPEC doused hopes for a speedy erosion of a global overhang of unwanted crude. Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down 92 cents at $38.61 a barrel by 1210 GMT, while U.S. crude futures CLc1 were 83 cents lower at $36.35.

Embattled Valeant Pharmaceuticals fell short of profit expectations in the fourth quarter and slashed its guidance for the current quarter and the full year, citing lower sales across many of its businesses. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. said its still-preliminary results indicate it lost $336.4 million, or 98 cents per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31.

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