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Weak sales report sends bond yields lower

Trader Mark Muller, left, and specialist Dilip Patel

Trader Mark Muller, left, and specialist Dilip Patel at the NYSE June 12, 2017. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

U.S. stocks dipped Wednesday as investors worried about weak retail sales and oil prices sank. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the third time in six months.

The Commerce Department said retail spending decreased in May, which surprised experts. Investors reacted by buying traditionally safe assets like government bonds and high-dividend companies while selling stocks from other industries that depend more on economic growth. Bond yields hit their lowest level of 2017.

In the last few weeks Wall Street has been disappointed by several economic reports. That did not appear to change the Fed’s thinking even though higher interest rates tend to slow down economic growth. For years investors have been hoping growth will hit a faster pace.

“This economy has always been something of a healthy tortoise,” said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management. “I think growth will pick up a bit, but there is sort of a failure to bounce in this economy.”

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slid 0.1 percent, to 2,437.92. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 46.09 points, or 0.2 percent, to a record 21,374.56. After a late tumble in technology stocks, the Nasdaq composite lost 0.4 percent, to 6,194.89. — AP



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