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Saturday, Apr 01, 2023

US stocks fall as investors weigh solid retail sales data against Target's warning of weaker holiday spending

US stocks fall as investors weigh solid retail sales data against Target's warning of weaker holiday spending

The strong retail sales growth in October reinforces expectations that the Fed will hike interest rates again in December by at least 50 basis points.

US stocks fell on Wednesday as investors weighed Target's disappointing third-quarter earnings results against solid retail sales data.

Retail sales jumped 1.3% in October to $694.5 billion, well ahead of estimates for a 1% gain, led by higher gas prices and auto sales. Sales were up 0.9% when excluding gas and auto sales. The data showed the ongoing resilience of the consumer despite elevated inflation and higher interest rates.

While retail sales jumped in October, one retailer was unable to fully capitalize off those gains. Target reported disappointing third-quarter earnings, which showed a drop in profits and a murky outlook for the upcoming holiday shopping season. The company also said it would launch a $3 billion cost-cutting plan.

"Although Target reported disappointing third quarter results, the October retail sales report underscores that a more discerning US consumer continues to spend. While credit cards are being used more frequently, consumers are taking advantage of earlier than usual holiday sales," LPL's chief global strategist Quincy Krosby told Insider.

The strong retail sales growth in October reinforces expectations that the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates once again in December by at least 50 basis points.

Here's where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. ET close on Wednesday:

*  S&P 500: 3,959.10, down 0.82%

*  Dow Jones Industrial Average: 33,556.60, down 0.11% (36.32 points)

*  Nasdaq Composite: 11,183.66, down 1.54%

Here's what else happened today:

*  The rate of inflation in the UK accelerated in October to hit a new four-decade high of 11.1% amid steep price hikes in food and energy.

*  The US and China look like they're moving towards a military conflict over Taiwan that would crush economic growth, influential investor Ray Dalio warned.

*  Authorities in the US and Bahamas are in talks to possibly bring Sam Bankman-Fried to the US for questioning, according to Bloomberg.

*  Target stock fell 15% after the retailer revealed a disappointing third-quarter earnings report to investors.

*  The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell below 7% in its biggest weekly drop since July as inflation pressures show signs of easing.

*  Citadel's Ken Griffin warned that the US economy would enter an "immediate great depression" if China invades Taiwan and cuts off access to its semiconductor industry.

In commodities, bonds and crypto:

*  West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell 1.62% to $85.51 per barrel. Brent crude, oil's international benchmark, dropped 1.12% to $92.81.

*  Gold rose 0.11% to $1,778.80 per ounce.

*  The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell 10 basis points to 3.68%.

*  Bitcoin dropped 1.96% to $16569, while ether fell 3.80% to $1,209.


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