Stocks regained their footing in midday trading Thursday as tech-related shares outperformed.
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Shares of Netflix rose more than 1 percent while Alphabet and Apple both gained about 0.4 percent.
Stocks fell earlier in the day on weaker-than–expected retail sales. Retail sales fell 1.2 percent in December, marking their biggest monthly drop since September 2009, according to The Commerce Department. The department also said retail sales fell 0.9 percent in December when excluding gasoline station sales.
“This number was terrible,” said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, in a note. “The US consumer is holding the global economy on its shoulders. After seeing today’s data, we better hope it was a one month outlier and that the rebound in stocks in January and month to date will revive consumer spending.”
Treasury yields also fell on the weak data. The benchmark 10-year rate traded around 2.66 percent, down from about 2.69 percent.
The U.S. dollar also fell against other major currencies. The euro rose 0.2 percent to $1.1289 against the dollar, while the yen gained 0.2 percent.
Lael Brainard, a Federal Reserve governor, told CNBC on Thursday that downside risks to the economy “have definitely increased.”
The data come amid ongoing the U.S.-China trade talks. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that talks were “going very well” as both sides look to reach an agreement before an early March deadline.
Furthermore, the South China Morning Post reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with U.S. delegates on Friday, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Bloomberg News reported, however, that the two sides are still far apart on key issues.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq came into Thursday’s session riding four-day winning streaks. Both indexes, along with the 30-stock Dow, were up at least 1 percent as of Wednesday’s close.
—CNBC’s Silvia Amaro contributed to this report.