UPDATE 4:20 p.m. EST: U.S. markets finished fractionally lower Wednesday in seesaw Veterans Day trading, pressured by mixed data out of China, lower retail sales figures from Macy's and worries about when the U.S. Federal Reserve's expected interest rate hike.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDESDJX:DJI) finished the day off 55.99 points, or 0.32 percent, to 17702.22, and the Standard & Poor's 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) fell 6.72 points, or 0.32 percent, to 2,075.00, while the Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) was down 16.22 points, or 0.32 percent, to 5,067.02.
“It’s just remarkable how fast market sentiment turns,” Colleen Supran, a principal of Bingham, Osborn & Scarborough, which manages $3.5 billion, told the Wall Street Journal.
Wall Street opened fractionally mixed Wednesday amid conflicting Chinese economic data and disappointing sales results reported by Macy's Inc.
In early-morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDESDJX:DJI) was up 8.72 points, or 0.05 percent, to 17766.93, and the Standard & Poor's 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) was up 1.22 points, or 0.06 percent, to 2,082.94, while the Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) was down 0.59 point, or 0.01 percent, to 5,082.93.
Macy's (NYSE:M) reported disappointing quarterly sales data before the bell, blaming a strong U.S. dollar that discouraged tourists from buying. The company also said it would not pursue forming a real-estate investment trust for now, but might redevelop some of its flagship properties through joint investments or other deals, Reuters reported. The firm's equity was punished in the market, as its share price declined to as low as $40.10 in the early going Wednesday from its closing level of $47.02 Tuesday, a drop of $6.92, or 14.72 percent.
Global markets shrugged off mixed data from China, where industrial-production growth dropped to 5.6 percent compared with last year, missing estimates, but the fall was cushioned by an 11 percent rise in retail sales, Reuters reported. The news weighed on prospects for a hike in U.S. interest rates, but left the door open for the European Central Bank to inject more stimulus.
The British FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX), German DAX (INDESDB:DAX) and French CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) were all higher, after a late rally in Chinese shares. In afternoon trading, the FTSE was up 32.92 points, or 0.52 percent, to 6,308.21; the DAX was up 62.26 points, or 0.57 percent, to 10,894.78; and the CAC was up 42.21 points, or 0.86 percent, to 4,954.37.
German 10-year bonds were up 1/32 to yield 0.62 percent, while Japanese 10-year bonds were down 2/32 to yield 0.32 percent. The U.S. bond market was closed for Veterans Day Wednesday.
In the currency markets, the dollar eased and the euro was slightly higher. The euro was trading at $1.0738, while the dollar was off against the yen at 123.05 yen to the dollar. ECB President Mario Draghi told the Bank of England Open Forum market cross-border regulation is needed to ensure market integrity.
"Market expectations of further ECB [quantitative easing] are high," Alan Higgins, chief investment officer at Coutts in London, told Reuters. "He [Draghi] has to deliver [at the ECB meeting next month], and it has to be something substantial. Otherwise, the euro is going to shoot up."