U.S. stocks were down on Tuesday following release of last month’s data on retail sales that showed lackluster performance and held back possible recovery prospects on consumer spending.
Volume generally posted lighter than average performance with 3.5 billion shares traded around midday. The previous day’s total was however, the lowest so far this year.
Retail sales in January were weighed down by what analysts deem as likely effect of snowstorms that hit large portions of the country.
“I don’t know if today’s data was soft enough to take the legs from underneath the market, but interestingly it’s indicative of some spending exhaustion occurring in the consumer space,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.
The S&P retail index .RLX dropped 0.1 percent. Family Dollar Stores Inc (FDO.N) was down nearly 1 percent to $43.43, while Saks Inc (SKS.N) contracted 0.7 percent to $12.44.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was also down 48.28 points, or 0.39 percent, to 12,219.91. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC fell 8.78 points, or 0.31 percent, to 2,808.40.
Tuesday’s stocks were also brought down by energy shares being pulled back thereby reversing the market’s recent rally.
Energy stocks were leading the market in the recent rally, with the S&P energy index up 45 percent since late last year, while the benchmark S&P 500 is up 26 percent.
But on Tuesday, Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) fell 2.2 percent to $83.06, while the S&P energy index .GSPE was down 1.1 percent, as oil prices dropped.
“It’s getting a little sloppy after the huge run we’ve had,” said Robert Francello, head of equity trading for Apex Capital.
But he said the market could still end higher. “No matter what we throw at it, there seems to be a bid for the market.”
Meanwhile, Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE) and NYSE Euronext (NYX.N) announced concluding a merger to create the world’s largest exchange operator but however failed to buoy up NYSE Euronext which fell 5.4 percent at $37.29.