Wall Street closes lower after US retail sales data

·3-min read

US stock indexes have closed lower after a disappointing forecast from Home Depot and US retail sales data for April pointed to softer consumer spending while uncertainty about interest rates and debt limit negotiations weighed on sentiment.

Home Depot declined 2.15 per cent as one of the biggest drag on both the Dow Industrials and S&P 500 after the home improvement retailer cut its annual sales forecast and projected a steeper than expected decline in profit.

Shares of peer Lowe's Companies Inc fell 1.16 per cent.

"You can argue that people are tired of spending on the house, they want experiences, they want to go out they want to do other things, they don't want to fix up the house according to Home Depot, because they had horrendous earnings," said Ken Polcari, managing partner at Kace Capital Advisors in Boca Raton, Florida.

The Commerce Department reported retail sales rose 0.4 per cent in April, short of the estimate for an increase of 0.8 per cent.

But core retail sales rebounded - a figure excluding cars, petrol, building materials and food services.

"There is a sense that people are starting to get a little bit more sensitive to the Fed being successful and this ongoing drama of the debt ceiling is causing angst."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 336.46 points, or 1.01 per cent, to 33,012.14, the S&P 500 lost 26.38 points, or 0.64 per cent, to 4,109.9 and the Nasdaq Composite dipped 22.16 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 12,343.05.

Recent data has indicated slowing in the US economy following a string of rate hikes by the Federal Reserve to fight high inflation.

That slowing along with recent negotiations over the US debt ceiling has focused attention on when the central bank will pause hiking, or cut interest rates.

While the market is currently pricing in a rate cut by the end of the year, recent comments from Fed officials suggested they are not ready to cut rates soon.

Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said he was "comfortable" with raising interest rates further if needed but liked the "optionality" implied in the latest policy statement.

Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said she does not think the central bank can hold interest rates steady yet.

Lawmakers held a new round of talks about raising the debt ceiling.

The Treasury Department has warned it could run out of money as soon as June 1 without a deal, which would trigger a default and likely cause a sharp economic slump.

Horizon Therapeutics tumbled 14.17 per cent as the Federal Trade Commission said it would file a lawsuit to block Amgen Inc's $US27.8 billion ($A41.7 billion) deal to buy the company.

Shares of Amgen fell 2.42 per cent.

The decline in both stocks weighed on the Nasdaq Biotech Index, which closed at a three-week low after dropping 2.44 per cent - its biggest one-day percentage decline in three months.

Shares of Capital One Financial Corp climbed 2.05 per cent the day after Berkshire Hathaway Inc disclosed it had taken a stake of nearly $US1 billion in the stock.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 4.05-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.28-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 12 new 52-week highs and 13 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 47 new highs and 188 new lows.

Volume on US exchanges was 9.36 billion shares, compared with the 10.58 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.