US stocks retreat after inflation, retail sales data, Companies & Markets News & Top Stories

NEW YORK (AFP) – Wall Street stocks retreated from records on Tuesday (June 15) following data showing higher inflation and lacklustre retail sales, while petroleum-linked shares rallied with oil prices.

The economic data pointed to a bumpy US recovery and came as the Federal Reserve began a two-day monetary policy meeting that will culminate with an announcement of its next steps on Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 0.3 per cent at 34,299.33.

The broad-based S&P 500 lost 0.2 per cent at 4,246.59, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 0.7 per cent to 14,072.86. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq finished at records on Monday.

Producer prices for the past year spiked to 6.6 per cent in May, the highest in the history of the data set dating back to 2010, the US Labour Department said.

Meanwhile, US retail sales fell by 1.3 per cent in May, a bigger-than-expected drop, US data showed.

“Each month of high prices and sluggish labour market growth will test the Fed’s patience,” said a note from FHN Financial’s Chris Low, adding that the Fed is likely on Tuesday to characterise the pricing jump as in line with expectations.

“It will be interesting to hear what the Fed has to say about consumer demand,” Low said.

“Most likely, Powell will council patience that some of the strength will moderate in the next few months.”

While equities were broadly lower, oil-linked shares proved outperformers, with Chevron gaining 2.2 per cent and Halliburton 2.5 per cent. Crude prices rose to two-year peaks.