The major U.S. stock indexes drifted lower in morning trading Friday, hovering just below their all-time highs set a day earlier. Investors weighed new data showing retail sales and producer prices came in softer than expected in July. Health care and industrial companies were among the biggest decliners, while utilities and energy stocks led the gainers.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 14 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,598 as of 11:15 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped less than one point, or 0.1 percent, to 2,185. The Nasdaq composite index lost one point to 5,227.
THE QUOTE: “It’s very understandable that people are not particularly keen to rush into buying at these historically high levels,” said Erik Davidson, chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank. “Add in this economic data that leans to the weaker side and it’s not surprising that the market is off a little bit.”
ECONOMIC DATA: The Commerce Department said that U.S. retail sales held steady in July from the previous month, as Americans spent less at grocery stores, clothing shops, sporting goods and electronics and appliance outlets. Those declines were offset by big increases in auto sales and on online and catalog sales. Separately, the Labor Department said producer prices posted the biggest drop last month since September, pulled down by tumbling energy, clothing and food prices. Inflation remains modest at both producer and consumer levels.
PAINFUL QUARTER: Shares in Concordia International slumped 27.3 percent after the drugmaker reported disappointing sales, cut its annual forecasts and suspended its dividend. The stock shed $4.45 to $11.91.
UNAPPETIZING RESULTS: Ruby Tuesday’s slid 11.5 percent after the restaurant chain reported weak sales and said it would shutter 95 of its company-owned locations by September. The stock lost 43 cents to $3.30.
HAPPY RETAILERS: Nordtsrom surged 8.7 percent a day after the department store chain reported earnings that beat Wall Street’s expectations. The company also raised its profit guidance for the year. The stock gained $4.14 to $51.70. On Friday, J.C. Penney said a pickup in sales helped trim the chain’s second-quarter loss from a year earlier. The stock added 43 cents, or 4.3 percent, to $10.37. Meanwhile, Dillard’s rose 3.5 percent after the retailer posted a second-quarter profit that was larger than analysts expected. Its shares gained $2.23 to $68.64.
PUMPED UP: Planet Fitness gained 10.4 percent after the fitness center company raised its profit and revenue projections following a strong second-quarter report. The stock rose $2.12 to $22.45.
SOLD: Silicon Graphics jumped 28.8 percent on news that Hewlett Packard Enterprise agreed to buy the computer equipment and services company for about $281 million. Silicon Graphics added $1.72 to $7.70.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: The DAX index in Germany was down 0.3 percent and France’s CAC 40 was down 0.1 percent. Britain’s FTSE was flat. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite index added 1.6 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.8 percent after China reported retail sales and factory output increased sharply in July from a year earlier, even as they declined from June 2016’s levels. Elsewhere in the region, Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index rose 1.1 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.4 percent. India’s Sensex gained 1 percent. Markets in Southeast Asia were mostly higher.
OIL PRICES: Benchmark U.S. crude was up 55 cents, or 1.3 percent, at $44.04 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up 45 cents, or 1 percent, at $46.49 a barrel in London.
BONDS AND CURRENCIES: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.48 percent from 1.56 late Thursday. In currency markets, the dollar strengthened to 100.89 yen from 101.93 on Thursday. The euro rose to $1.1181 from $1.1141.