The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 84.58 points
New York - AFP
A weak retail sales report and another fall in oil prices sent Wall Street shares lower for a third straight day in opening trade Friday.
Worries about consumer spending as the holiday shopping season opens drove another selloff of retailer stocks and sent the S&P 500 back below where it began 2015.
About 30 minutes into trade, the broad-based S&P 500 dropped 8.46 (0.41 percent) to 2,037.51.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 84.58 points (0.48 percent) at 17,363.49.
And the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite lost 28.97 (0.58 percent) at 4,976.10.
Shares of chain and department stores sank after the government's October retail sales report showed a bare increase month-on-month and just a 1.7 percent gain from a year ago.
While some of the reason was lower prices, as for fuel, it still sent worries through the market about the November-December shopping period.
Among the larger chain stores, struggling JC Penney fell 8.7 percent, turning in another losing quarter although it said revenues rose. Target lost 3.9 percent, Kohl's 7.4 percent and Macy's 3.1 percent.
Analysts were still holding out hope that consumers are gearing up for a year-end Christmas shopping splurge.
"Retail sales excluding the impact of gasoline sales have failed to rise meaningfully for the last three months, even as lower energy costs should leave more dollars in consumer hands," said Jay Morelock at FTN Financial.
"Households could be saving up for a holiday binge, making the next two retail sales reports of utmost importance when gauging the health of the consumer."
Another fall in oil prices, after the International Energy Agency said world stocks hit a record near 3 billion barrels, sent oil company shares tumbling again.
ExxonMobil was down 1.0 percent and Chevron 0.8 percent.
Shares of networking giant Cisco sank 4.9 percent after it forecast lower revenues and profits in the current quarter than analysts expected, citing lower orders and the strong dollar's effect.