Stocks dip as Wall Street rally loses steam, investors assess fresh retail data

Stocks fell on Wednesday as the rally on Wall Street that has propelled equity prices higher since mid-June appeared to lose steam amid a fresh batch of retail earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 204 points, or 0.6%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite slid 0.8% and 1.11%, respectively.

Traders continued to comb through corporate earnings from the retail sector. Walmart and Home Depot reported Tuesday, while Lowe’s and Target posted earnings Wednesday morning.

Data released by the Census Bureau on Wednesday showed retail sales remain unchanged in July amid declines in auto sales and gasoline prices, although consumers did increase spending online.

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Wall Street also looked ahead to the release of minutes from the Fed’s most recent meeting. The findings could offer further insight into what could come at the Fed’s next meeting in September as it plans to continue raising rates and shrinking the size of its balance sheet.

“We would caution investors against chasing this rally,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management in a note to clients Wednesday. “We expect renewed market volatility ahead, and we continue to recommend positioning portfolios for resilience under various scenarios.”

Wednesday’s moves came after the Dow notched its fifth straight day of gains Tuesday and S&P 500 was on track for its fifth positive week.

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