U.S. stocks fell Friday after data showed a worse-than-expected drop in retail sales, and investors were worried about rising Sino-US trade animosities, while signs of higher demand were driving oil prices higher.
The U.S. Department of Commerce said Friday retail sales fell 16.4% last month, the biggest drop since the government began tracking indicators in 1992.
The fall in retail sales, a significant part of the US economy, added to the historic loss of 20.5 million jobs last month, underscoring the severity of the economic downturn, which analysts have warned, could recover years later.
Oil prices, however, have risen to their highest levels in more than a month, thanks to signs that demand in China is growing, and data showing that China’s industrial production for the first time increased in April this year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 146.75 points, or 0.62%, to 23,478.59 points, the S&P 500 lost 22.38 points, or 0.78%, to 2830.12, and the Nasdaq Composite index fell 82.30 points, or 0.92%, to 8,861.43 points.
After a tiring week, overall European stocks were expected to finish the week nearly 4% lower — the largest weekly drop since mid-March, when global stocks spread as the coronavirus crisis spread around the world.
MSCI, the more confident on Friday, fell 2.7% this week and also set the biggest weekly drop since March.
Analysts say the decline this week, although a natural correction after the rally since mid-March, also reflects growing concern over rising tensions between the US and China.