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Stocks Fall As Consumer Spending Declines


Despite low gas prices and an improved job market, US consumers just aren’t spending—the Dow Jones Industrial Average saw the worst decline since Feb. 11 on Wednesday, with retail stocks leading the drop.

Consumer spending has slowed for three quarters in a row, and the US economy grew just 0.5% in Q1. Some speculate that, though oil remains low, its slight rebound could have consumers on edge, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“There’s some kind of hesitation with the US consumer,” said Atlantic Trust Private Wealth Management CIO David Donabedian. “That’s a big reason why the US economy is really just limping along here.”

On the whole, the S&P 500’s consumer-discretionary sector, which includes retailers and media companies, fell 2%, as Walt Disney saw a 4% slide, making it the worst performer in the Dow.

Consumer spending aside, the failure of the Staples-Office Depot merger sent those two stocks tumbling as well. [WSJ]