The major equity indexes were lower on Thursday after worse-than-expected sales declines at Macy’s and Kohl’s sparked a selloff in shares of department stores and stirred fears that consumers are not spending enough to drive economic growth forward.
Macy’s dismal quarterly performance sent its shares tumbling 17 percent, taking a toll on the consumer discretionary sector, which fell 0.59 percent. Kohl’s fell 7.86 percent after it reported a drop in quarterly sales, while shares of Nordstrom and J.C. Penney each dropped more than 7 percent.
The weak corporate reports left investors looking to April retail sales data due out on Friday for signs of whether consumers are simply shifting their spending habits away from department stores, or simply are not spending.
Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors declined. Financials were lower by 0.53 percent, weighed down by a 1.79-percent loss in Wells Fargo.
Shares of Snap fell 21.45 percent after the Snapchat owner reported a slowdown in user growth and revenue in its first earnings report as a publicly-listed company.
Straight Path closed down 20.41 percent after it agreed to be taken over by Verizon in a $3.1 billion deal, snubbing a rival offer from AT&T.
Merck rose 0.77 percent on news that the FDA cleared its lung cancer combination treatment.
Approximately 6.7 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, in line with the daily average over the last 20 sessions.