Stocks fell on Tuesday after an unexpected drop in retail sales dampened recent optimism over the state of the U.S. economy.
Sales at U.S. retailers fell 1.1 percent in March, snapping two months of increases and hitting a wide range of stocks such as Macy's Inc
We are still struggling to make serious headway with the economy, said Paul Nolte, director of investments at Hinsdale Associates in Hinsdale, Illinois. Its going to put people a little bit more on (the) defensive.
Healthcare group Johnson & Johnson
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 47.63 points, or 0.59 percent, to 8,010.18. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> fell 3.77 points, or 0.44 percent, to 854.96. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> lost 5.17 points, or 0.31 percent, to 1,648.14.
U.S. stock markets have enjoyed a five-week rally spurred by optimism on the economy and the financial sector, which lifted the S&P 500 26 percent from a bear market closing low on March 9. The S&P remains down around 8 percent on the start of the year.
Wal-Mart shares fell 1.1 percent to $50.95 after the retail sales data, which indicated subdued consumer spending amid rising unemployment. Macy's fell 7.9 percent to $11.90, while the S&P Retail Index <.RLX> lost 2.5 percent.
(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)