US stocks close mixed amid sharp retail-sales slowdown and stimulus deadlock

Getty Images / Xinhua News Agency
  • US stocks closed mixed on Friday after disappointing retail-sales data indicated that the economic rebound slowed in July.
  • Investors continue to expect further government stimulus, even though talks over the next package are at a standstill.
  • The market will also be watching for news on trade talks, as senior US and Chinese officials were scheduled to meet on Saturday – but those meetings were postponed.
  • Read more on Business Insider.

US stocks closed mixed on Friday after disappointing retail-sales data indicated that the measure’s ongoing rebound slowed in July as new coronavirus cases ticked up.

Retail sales edged up by 1.2% in July, lower than economists’ estimates of a 2.3% increase and down from a revised 8.4% jump in June. The weaker-than-expected report is the latest data to suggest that the economic recovery from the pandemic recession lost steam as COVID-19 outbreaks curbed Americans’ activity.

The S&P 500 again attempted to reach a new high, but finished mostly flat, just below its February level. If it had hit a new record, it would have marked the fastest-ever recovery from a bear market and erased all losses from the coronavirus pandemic meltdown.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4 p.m. ET market close on Friday:


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Industrial and energy stocks had the strongest gains Friday, but weak performances from utility and healthcare sectors weighed on the broader market.

Still, markets are supported as investors continue to expect further stimulus from the government, even as Democrats and Republicans remain at a stalemate over the next package. A deal is unlikely to come soon, as talks have not resumed in Washington.

In addition, traders will be awaiting news on trade talks over the weekend. Senior US and Chinese officials were scheduled to meet on Saturday, but those talks were postponed, Reuters reported Friday. No new meeting date has been set, according to the report.


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When the meeting does take place, China is expected to discuss the US’s recent crackdown on businesses such as TikTok and WeChat. The two sides are also expected to discuss compliance with the phase-one trade agreement signed in January.

Oil slipped, as a report from the International Energy Agency reduced forecasts for demand. West Texas Intermediate crude slipped as much as 1.5%, to $US41.62 per barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, dropped 1.1%, to $US44.47 per barrel, at intraday lows.


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