Investors are reacting negatively to another worse-than-expected economic report.
The government says October retail sales dropped 2.8%, the biggest decline on record. The report indicates that consumers cut back sharply on their spending amid the financial crisis. Weakness was led by a slump in auto purchases, but sales in areas ranging from furniture to clothing all fell.
It marks the fourth straight monthly decline in retail sales, the longest stretch of weakness on record. Excluding autos, retail sales fell by 2.2%, also a record decline.
Consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of total economic activity and weakness in this area was the major factor dragging down overall economic growth in the third quarter.
In morning trading, the Dow was down 250 points.
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