Weak sales report sinks stock prices in early trading


NEW YORK (AP) — New figures showing that last month’s holiday sales were far worse than previously expected helped drive stocks lower on Wall Street early Thursday, threatening to end a four-day winning streak for the S&P 500 index.

The surprise drop in December sales, the worst in the decade, sank a range of stocks, including Amazon. Makers of consumer products also took a beating after Coca-Cola said its sales could slow this year because of the strong dollar.

Investors retreated into government bonds, sending benchmark yields lower.

Markets had been moving higher this week as investors became optimistic that new talks could move the U.S. and China closer to a resolution of their trade fight.

The negotiations began Monday, but key figures were set to meet Thursday and Friday in an attempt to avoid an escalation of tariffs that have raised prices for companies and consumers.

Knifeman's Rampage Ends with 7 People Dead

The nations are trying to hash out a deal before March 2, when the U.S. has said it would go ahead with penalties on an additional $200 billion of Chinese goods. President Donald Trump has reportedly said he’s willing to let that deadline slide if talks go well.

The terrible holiday sales report in the U.S. and ongoing trade woes come at a time that worries about other global economies are deepening. China’s economy grew at its slowest pace in three decades last year and Europe is contending with a slowdown in growth. Germany, the biggest economy in Europe, recorded no growth in the fourth quarter, just barely avoiding a recession.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 111 points, or 0.4 percent, to 25,430 as of 10:2- a.m. The S&P 500 index fell 0.3 percent and The Nasdaq composite fell 0.1 percent. Slightly more stocks fell than rose on the New York Stock Exchange.

Bond prices rose sharply following the weak report on U.S. retail sales. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.66 percent. That yield is used to set rates on mortgages and other kinds of loans.

FLAT SODA: Coca-Cola plunged after the company gave investors a weak outlook as it grapples with rising costs. The beverage giant raised prices in 2018 to counter increasing import and transportation costs.

The company said currency fluctuations shaved 10 percent off its fourth quarter profit and it expects a stronger dollar hurt growth in 2019.

OVERSEAS: Stocks in Europe and Asia were mixed.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City