The stock markets in the United States fluctuated and ended the trading session lower except NASDAQ, up 0.11% today. Investors were disappointed by the weaker-than-expected retail sales in April. Consumers reduced their purchasing activities for automobiles and other big items.

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The Department of Commerce reported that the retail sales last month was “virtually unchanged” at $436.8 billion. The March’s retail sales were revised higher to 1.1%.

Thomas Costerg, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank told Reuters, “Hopes for a strong rebound are now fading. The likelihood of near-term Fed action is almost zero now.”

On the other hand, John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics commented, “We remain puzzled by the softness in retail sales given the gains in employment, real incomes from lower energy prices, and wealth.” Ryding still thinks consumer spending will pick up this year.”

[drizzle]Last week, the Department of Labor reported that the unemployment rate declined to 5.4% after companies added 223,000 jobs in April.

Meanwhile, Kelly Bogdanov, vice president and portfolio analyst at RBC Wealth Management told Bloomberg, “We’ve been at the mercy of the bond market because of a news vacuum with corporate earnings finished and a light economic calendar, but equities have been remarkably resilient in the face of yields and uncertainty about when the Fed will pull the trigger.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 18,060.49 (-0.04%)
  • S&P 500- 2,098.48 (-0.03%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,981.69 (+0.11%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,232.44 (-0.06%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,553.42 (-0.55%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,949.63 (+0.23%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 11,351.46 (+1.05%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 19,764.72 (+0.71%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 27,249.28 (-0.58%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 4,719.04 (-0.61%)

Stocks in Focus

The shares of E I Du Pont De Nemours And Co declined more than 6% to $69.33 per share. Trian Fund, the activist hedge fund headed by Nelson Peltz lost its proxy fight against Dupont. The shareholders of the chemical giant elected all of the nominees.

Macy’s, one of the largest department store retailers in the United States reported earnings and sales decline for the first quarter. The company posted earnings of $0.56 per share and sales of $6.23 billion. During the same period a year ago, the retailers recorded earnings of $0.60 per share and sales of $6.28 billion. The stock price of the Macy’s dropped more than 2% to $63.73 per share.

The stock price of Williams Partners climbed more than 22% to $58.16 per share. The company agreed to be acquired by Williams Companies for $13.8 billion in an all-stock-for-unit transaction.

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