FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2019:
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average closed lower on Thursday following the release of much weaker-than-expected retail sales data.
The S&P 500 dipped 0.27 percent to 2,745.72 as the consumer staples and financials sectors lagged. The 30-stock Dow pulled back 103.88 points to 25,439.39 as shares of Coca-Cola had their worst day since 2008. The Nasdaq Composite, however, eked out a gain of 0.1 percent to close at 7,426.95 as Netflix's stock climbed more than 2 percent.
Retail sales fell 1.2 percent in December, marking their biggest monthly drop since September 2009, according to The Commerce Department. The department also said retail sales fell 0.9 percent in December when excluding gasoline station sales.
"This number was terrible," said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, in a note. "The US consumer is holding the global economy on its shoulders. After seeing today's data, we better hope it was a one month outlier and that the rebound in stocks in January and month to date will revive consumer spending."
The data come amid ongoing the U.S.-China trade talks. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that talks were "going very well" as both sides look to reach an agreement before an early March deadline. On Thursday, Bloomberg News reported Trump may be willing to extend the deadline by 60 days.
Furthermore, the South China Morning Post reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with U.S. delegates on Friday, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Stocks are on track to post solid gains this week. The three major indexes are all up at least 1 percent through Thursday's close.