Poor sales prompts decline US stocks

US stocks closed lower after a weak holiday shopping report sent shares of major retailers lower.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 24 points to close at 13,114 today. It was the third straight loss for the Dow.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell six to 1,419 and the Nasdaq composite lost 22 to 2,990.

The MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse report found that sales of electronics, clothing, jewelelry and home goods increased just 0.7% in the two months before Christmas.

That is well below the growth of 3 to 4% analysts expected and the worst performance since 2008.

Macy’s, Sears and Urban Outfitters all fell.

Falling stocks outnumbered rising ones two to one on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was very low at 2.3 billion shares.

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