Wall Street set to open lower after weak retail sales data


(Reuters) – Wall Street was set to open lower on Wednesday, as a surprise fall in domestic retail sales and underwhelming data from China raised growth concerns, while investors waited for more developments on the U.S.-China trade dispute.

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Government data showed U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell in April as motor vehicle purchases slumped, while data from China also showed surprisingly weak growth in retail sales and industrial output for April, adding pressure on Beijing to roll out more stimulus.

“The U.S. retail sales report is clearly disappointing. It implies that job and wage growth have not been enough to propel consumer spending at a faster pace,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.

“The slow patch in one place is consistent with a slow patch everywhere else. We aren’t looking at recessionary numbers, but it is a yellow flag.”

Markets took a breather on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump called the trade war with Beijing “a little squabble” and said he would talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping at a G20 Summit in Japan late next month.

The optimistic comments followed a market rout on Monday, when the S&P 500 and the Dow recorded one of Wall Street’s worst declines this year as the two sides imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on each others imports.

“We’re waiting to see how the U.S. is going to hold their position on the trade issue, and so far the U.S. economy has been able to stay through just fine,” said Charlie Smith, chief investment officer at Pittsburgh-based Fort Pitt Capital Group.

Concerns that the trade dispute could be protracted and may impact the global economy have kept investors on the edge over the past couple of days, with the benchmark S&P index now about 4% below its all-time high reached two weeks ago.

Tariff sensitive Boeing Co declined 0.8% in premarket trading, while Caterpillar Inc dipped 0.7%.

At 8:52 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 183 points, or 0.72%. S&P 500 e-minis were down 19.75 points, or 0.7% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 55.5 points, or 0.75%.

Perrigo Company Plc dropped 2.3% as Jefferies lowered its price target on the generic drugmaker after the company’s recent move to divest its higher margin generic pet care business.

Macy’s Inc rose 2.7% after its quarterly same-store sales topped Wall Street estimates, benefiting from increased digital sales and higher demand for discounted luxury items sold at its off-price stores.

Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Shounak Dasgupta

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *