NEW YORK, N.Y. - Stocks are lower in midday trading as traders reacted to disappointing news out of the retail industry.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 48 points, or 0.3 per cent, at 16,414 as of noon (1700 GMT) Thursday.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell four points, or 0.2 per cent, to 1,833. The Nasdaq composite lost 16 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4,149.
Retailers Bed Bath & Beyond and Family Dollar plunged after cutting their earnings forecasts following a disappointing holiday season. They were the biggest decliners in the S&P 500.
The bleak outlooks outweighed some encouraging news on the job market. The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell by 15,000 last week, more than economists were expecting.