Stock market retreats as investors keep one eye on coronavirus

The Nasdaq and S&P 500 finished at records Friday, after bouncing between small gains and losses, as investors parsed mixed data on the strength of the U.S. consumer and monitored the spread of COVID-19 in China.

The bond and stock markets will be closed Monday in observance of Presidents Day.

How did major indexes fare?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.09% shed 25.23 points, or nearly 0.1%, to end at 29,398.08, while the S&P 500 SPX, +0.18%  gained 6.22 points, or 0.2%, to finish at an all-time high close at 3,380.16. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.20% added 19.21 points, or 0.2%, to close at a record 9,731.18.

For the week, the Dow advanced 1%, the S&P 500 1.6%, and the Nasdaq 2.2%.

What drove the market?

Despite the fresh all-time highs, some cracks emerged in what has been a seemingly impregnable segment of the U.S. economy: the U.S. consumer. Seeds of doubt were sown on Friday after a report on January retail sales showed sluggish activity, underscored by a 3.1% drop in sales at clothing stores.

Retail sales rose 0.3% in January, the government said, matching the MarketWatch consensus forecast.

“The market’s resilience in the past couple of years has been predicated on the belief that the consumer will continue to do well—although retail data has been mixed in that regard,” said John Carey, director of equity income for the U.S. at Amundi Pioneer, in an interview with MarketWatch.

The weaker-than-expected report on retail sales comes even as a separate measure of consumer sentiment surged above expectations to touch a near 15-year high in a preliminary February reading.

“It’s something that could undermine the market as we move forward, if the consumer pulls back,” Carey said, adding that capital spending by companies has been sluggish, while data on

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