NEW YORK, New York - U.S. stocks softened on Wednesday as economic data released on the day showed the U.S. economy weakening.
U.S. retail sales in September fell for the first time since March, the Commerce Department reported.
"This is perhaps the first indication that the consumer side of the economy is showing signs of stress and perhaps pulling back," Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York told Reuters Thomson. "The consumer has been looked at as the savior of this economy and this data comes out and it's rather shocking."
At the close of trading Wednesday the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 22.82 points, or 0.08%, at 27,001.98.
The Standard and Poors 500 dropped 5.99 points, or 0.20%, to 2,989.69.
The Nasdaq Composite eased 24.52 points, or 0.3%, to 8,124.18.