NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks slipped on Tuesday as mixed economic data and Best Buy’s (BBY.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) disappointing sales spurred worries about an anemic recovery.
After a three-month run that lifted the S&P 500 as much as 40 percent from 12-year lows, analysts said the economy needs to start showing real improvement to support optimism about a budding recovery.
A rebound in May housing starts pointed to some stabilization in that sector, but another government report showed industrial production had a steeper-than-expected slide last month.
Industrial production fell 1.1 percent in May, while capacity utilization, a measure of slack in the U.S. economy, slumped to its lowest level on records dating back to 1967.
“It indicates that at a minimum, the market’s taking a breather and may be starting a meaningful correction,” said Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer of Johnson Illington Advisors in Albany, New York, concerning the market’s losses.
“The worry is we’ve gone too far too fast and that we’ve overstated the strength of a recovery in the economy and earnings.”
Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the largest U.S. consumer electronics retailer, posted weaker-than-expected sales in its first quarter and suggested earnings for the rest of the year would be worse than forecast. Its shares dropped 7.3 percent to $35.84. The S&P retail index tumbled 3.1 percent.
Indexes ended at session lows. The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 107.46 points, or 1.25 percent, to 8,504.67. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index .SPX lost 11.75 points, or 1.27 percent, to 911.97. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was off 20.20 points, or 1.11 percent, to 1,796.18.
The S&P 500 is still up 34.8 percent from March’s 12-year closing low. Declines have been shallow and short-lived, but analysts are increasingly looking for a larger pullback.
Johnson said he expects a correction of around 10 percent.
Consumer discretionary and resource stocks were among the
day’s biggest losers. After earlier boosting the market, materials and energy shares fell as the U.S. dollar strengthened. Chevron (CVX.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) was down 1.7 percent at $69.88.
Single-family housing starts rose 7.5 percent in May, the largest gain since January 2006, but analysts said that rising mortgage rates and high inventory are still headwinds for the sector at the heart of the financial crisis.
In other economic data, a smaller-than-expected rise in May’s overall Producer Price Index suggested inflation pressures were muted.
Shares of big industrial manufacturers, whose fortunes are closely tied to a growing economy, fell, with blue-chip 3M Co (MMM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) down 1.5 percent at $58.41.
Trading volume was modest on the New York Stock Exchange, where about 1.18 billion shares changed hands, below last year’s estimated daily average of 1.49 billion. On the Nasdaq, about 2.26 billion shares traded, below last year’s daily average of 2.28 billion.
Decliners far outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 2,160 to 848, while on the Nasdaq, decliners outran advancers by 1,876 to 753.
(Editing by Jan Paschal)