NEW YORK, Aug 17 — Wall Street equities took a steep dive after trading opened today, as investors digested tepid retail earnings and a mixed bag of economic data.

Government data showed US retail sales flatlined in July due to falling gasoline prices, but posted solid gains in many areas, while mortgage applications fell again last week as the key housing market cools amid rising borrowing costs.

Meanwhile, the latest raft of earnings from American retail chains was “underwhelming,” analysis Patrick J O’Hare said. He said the reports “disappointed with either their earnings results or guidance.”

Markets also are awaiting the release later today of the minutes of last month’s Federal Reserve policy meeting — which produced a second consecutive three-quarter point interest rate hike — looking for signs of whether central bankers might be ready to slow the aggressive campaign against inflation.


About 45 minutes into the trading day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had lost 0.6 per cent to 33,952.98.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.8 per cent to 4,270.54, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index retreated 1.3 per cent to 12,937.1.

Big-box chain Target fell 1.9 per cent after reporting disappointing earnings, while the Lowe’s hardware chain gained nearly 3.0 per cent on better-than-expected earnings even as sales slowed. — AFP