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Overnight Markets: US stocks end mostly lower on grim retail sales data

Overnight Markets: US stocks end mostly lower on grim retail sales data

US stocks closed mostly lower on Thursday as investors digested grim retail sales data with hopes that high-level talks in Beijing could resolve the ongoing US-China trade dispute.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 104 points, or 0.41%, to 25,439, the S&P 500 lost seven points, or 0.27%, to 2,746 and the Nasdaq Composite added seven points, or 0.09%, to 7,427.

Talks to defuse the ongoing tariff dispute between the world’s two largest economies moved to a higher level as US-China negotiations progressed in Beijing ahead of the 1 March deadline.

However, investors were caught off guard by a report showing that US retail sales fell by 1.2% in December, the largest single-month decline since 2009, stoking fears of an economic slowdown.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, six closed in negative territory, with consumer staples and financials showing the biggest percentage declines.

Cisco Systems Inc gained 1.9% on the heels of a better-than-expected earnings report.

Shares of American International Group Inc slid 9.0%, marking its worst day in four years after the global insurer posted a quarterly loss.

Coca-Cola Co shares fizzled, dropping 8.4% and providing the biggest drag on the Dow after its full-year profit forecast fell well below Wall Street expectations.

Amazon.com dipped 1.1% after pulling the plug on its planned headquarters in New York due to local opposition.

Avon Products Inc plunged 11.0% after the multi-level marketing cosmetics brand missed quarterly revenue estimates.

Shares of NetApp Inc. slid 5.5% after the cloud data services company issued a fiscal third-quarter earnings report that showed it fell short of revenue expectations.

Bloomin’ Brands Inc. shares jumped 9% after the parent company of Outback Steakhouse reported fourth-quarter profits and sales that surpassed Wall Street expectations.

In Asia, shares declined on Friday in morning session following the overnight release of US retail data, which saw the sector seeing its biggest drop in nearly a decade.

Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 1.26% in early trade while the Topix shed 1.19%. South Korea's Kospi declined 0.99%. Australia's ASX 200 slipped 0.16%.

In China, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.79%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 1.52%.

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