Dismal earnings from department stores pressured consumer stocks, sending Wall Street south in a late-day selloff. Fred Katayama reports.
Consumer and financial stocks led Wall Street south in an afternoon selloff on Friday. Falling oil prices applied more downward pressure. For the week, the big indexes finished lower. U.S. retail sales surged in April, scoring its largest gain in a year. The data suggests the economic recovery is gaining traction. But that was offset by investors' concerns over dismal earnings reports from big department store chains. Schroders' Matt Ward: (SOUNDBITE) MATTHEW WARD, PORTFOLIO MANAGER, SCHRODER INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Retail, it looks like a retail surprise in the headline number, and yet here are the apparel guys. And it just adds up to the confusion in the market." J.C. Penney joining Macy's, Kohl's, and Nordstrom, reporting falling comparable sales. The common culprit: shoppers aren't buying apparel. Kohl's rose, but Penney and Nordstrom dropped. At least 14 brokerages cut their price target on Nordstrom. The iPhone maker is diversifying its business. Apple invested $1 billion in the Chinese ride-hailing service, Didi Chuxing. It's trying to reinvigorate sales in China. Western Digital shares lost ground. Bank of America Merrill Lynch downgraded the data storage company to "underperform" from "buy" and halved its price target. BofA saying investors are overly bullish over Western Digital's purchase of flash memory maker SanDisk. A different story across the pond: the strong U.S. retail sales data lifted European shares.