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Stocks end day lower but mixed on losses in retail sector

Trader Gregory Rowe works on the floor of

Trader Gregory Rowe works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.  Photo Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Stocks slipped Thursday as interest rates dropped and banks took sharp losses.

Department stores tumbled as Macy’s and Kohl’s plunged following weak holiday-season reports that led the chains to cut their profit forecasts.

A solid but uninspiring report on private hiring in December, from payroll processing company ADP, raised questions about the economy’s strength. Bond prices jumped and yields fell, which sent banks down. The dollar declined.

Stocks have surged in the last two months because investors expect faster economic growth after President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

The payroll report “reinforced investors’ concerns that stocks have risen too quickly without policy changes actually taking place yet,” said Kate Warne, an investment strategist for Edward Jones. Warne added that investors are also not sure if Trump’s trade and immigration proposals will slow down economic growth.

The Dow Jones industrial average sank 42.87 points, or 0.2 percent, to 19,899.29. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 1.75 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,269. The Nasdaq composite rose 10.93 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,487.94.

The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks surrendered 16.02 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,371.94.

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