Stocks finished modestly lower Wednesday as investors assessed economic data releases and trade updates. The Dow slipped 22 points, while the S&P 500 was down 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite lost 0.3%.
On the data front, retail sales unexpectedly dipped 0.3% in September, missing expectations of a 0.3% gain and the first drop in seven months. Separately, a gauge of homebuilder confidence jumped near a two-year high amid low mortgage rates. Treasuries advanced with the yield on the 10-year note down three basis points to 1.74%. On the trade front, President Trump noted that a U.S.-China trade deal would not be finalized until after his meeting with Chinese President Xi next month.
Six of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished in negative territory with Energy and Technology stocks leading decliners. Financial institutions continued to dominate earnings headlines, with Bank of America adding 1.7% after posting a 4% increase in net income. Shares of regional banks PNC Financial and Bank of New York Mellon edged higher after topping Wall Street earnings estimates. In other corporate news, General Motors added 1.3% following news that the automaker reached a tentative labor contract with its union workers. Elsewhere, T-Mobile added 0.3% after media outlets reported the wireless carrier won regulatory approval for its merger with Sprint.
In central bank news, the Federal Reserve Beige Book showed that the U.S. economy expanded at a “slight to modest pace” in recent weeks. The report revealed that manufacturing activity slowed amid ongoing trade tensions and slowing global growth. In commodities, WTI crude fell 2.5% to $53.31/barrel.