U.S. stocks fall on disappointing retail data

April 15, 2009 10:31 am 

NEW YORK, April 15 — U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday as disappointing retail sales and a surprising drop in inflation offset upbeat earnings reports from Goldman Sachs and Johnson & Johnson.

Dow Jones dropped below 8,000 points again while S&P tumbled about two percent.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported on Tuesday that retail sales fell by 1.1 percent in March. It was the biggest decline in three months and much weaker than a 0.3-percent increase analysts had expected.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Labor Department said wholesale prices dropped by 1.2 percent in March as costs of energy and food plummeted, compared to analysts' expectations of being flat.

The gloomy economic reports sent the stocks way down despite the good news from company results.

Goldman Sachs announced it earned 1.81 billion U.S. dollars, or 3.39 dollars per share, during the first quarter this year, which easily surpassed the market's expectations.

Health care products maker Johnson & Johnson says its first- quarter profit amounted to 3.5 billion dollars, or 1.26 dollars per share. Analysts had expected the earnings would be 1.22 dollars per share.

The Dow Jones fell 137.63, or 1.71 percent, to 7,920.18. Broader indexes also moved lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 17.23, or 2.01 percent, to 841.50, and the Nasdaq lost 27. 59, or 1.67 percent, to 1,625.72. (PNA/Xinhua) ALM/ebp

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