NEW YORK (AFP) – Wall Street stocks retreated on Wednesday (Nov 17), shrugging off good earnings from retailers and consolidating recent market records.

“This has been a week where we’re trying to digest the gains we’ve had,” said Art Hogan of National Securities, adding that there was no clear catalyst for the market’s retreat.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 0.6 per cent at 35,931.05. The blue-chip index is down 1.4 per cent from its most recent record on Nov 8.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.3 per cent to 4,688.67, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index also declined 0.3 per cent to 15,921.57.

Real estate projects started last month dropped 0.7 per cent to a lower-than-expected level, according to US government data that showed single-family home construction was especially weak.

The housing starts data was offset somewhat by a rise in permits, an indicator of projects in the pipeline.

Meanwhile, retailers Target, Lowe’s and TJX – owner of TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods – all reported solid quarterly earnings, reinforcing the case that US consumers were upbeat despite higher inflation after Walmart and Home Depot released similarly good results on Tuesday.

Among individual companies, Visa slumped 4.7 per cent after Amazon announced it would stop accepting payments in the UK made with Visa credit cards, blaming the move on high fees.

Wall Street falls as retailers stoke inflation fears