Stock Indexes Mostly Lower on Weak Retail

(AP) -- Stock indexes were mostly lower in early trading on Wall Street Friday following another batch of data showing how the business shutdowns aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic are ravaging the economy.

The government reported that U.S. retail sales sank a record 16% in April, the second steep decline in a row as store closures kept shoppers away. The Federal Reserve also reported that industrial production plunged a record 11.2% in April. Overseas, Germany's economy shrank in the first quarter, meaning that Europe's largest economy is in a recession.

The weak start erased some of the market's gains from a day earlier. The S&P 500 was down 0.4% after the first hour of trading. It's on track for its third weekly loss in the past four weeks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 60 points, or 0.2%, to 23,570. The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, slid 0.5%. Small-company stocks were doing better than the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 index rose 0.8%.

Bonds yields rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, a benchmark for many consumer loans, rose to 0.63% from 0.61% late Thursday.

Technology stocks bore the brunt of the selling, which outweighed gains in health care and other sectors.

Chipmakers were among the biggest decliners after the Trump administration announced it is restricting the ability for Chinese telecom giant Huwawei to use U.S. technology and software to design and manufacture its semiconductors abroad. Lam Research and Qualcomm were down more than 4% in the early going.

Energy stocks rose as crude oil prices climbed. Benchmark U.S. crude picked up $1.45, or 5.2%, to $29 a barrel. Brent, the international standard, was up 63 cents to $31.76 a barrel.

The S&P 500 sank more than 30% in February and March on worries about the coming recession and then snapped back by more than 30% on hopes for a relatively quick rebound last month.

So far this month, however, stocks have been headed mostly lower as investors balance cautious optimism of a recovery as economies around the world slowly ease the restrictions on people and businesses put in place to curtail the coronavirus pandemic against worries that the moves could lead to another surge in infections and more economic uncertainty.

Meanwhile, investors are beginning to fret about another possible flare-up in tensions between the Washington and Beijing.

Major stock indexes in Asia ended mixed. Markets in Europe were moving higher, despite a report showing that Germany, the continent's largest economy, fell into recession in the first quarter with a 2.2% quarter-on-quarter decline. That pullback echoed economic declines in France and Italy.