A surprise decline in June retail sales was the latest worrying sign from the economy, pushing stocks slightly lower on Monday, but Citigroup earnings limited losses in another forecast-beating report from a bank.
The S&P 500 has fallen in seven of the last eight sessions, weighed down by concerns about the economy. Still, in a sign of resilience, the index is up roughly 7 percent from a low hit early in June despite the worsening economic data.
The drop in retail sales in June, the third consecutive monthly decrease, contrasted with economists' expectations for a small increase and was the latest sign the recovery is flagging, a major concern for investors.
Art Cashin, director of floor operations at UBS Financial Services, told CNBC that events in Europe were also having an effect on stocks.
“The Dow was pulled around like a little puppy on a string by the dollar,” Cashin said. “So Europe is still driving the bus.”
Shares of Citigroup rose after the third largest U.S. bank reported profit that came in above analysts' estimates. That was despite a 12 percent drop in quarterly earnings due to losses from credit crisis-era assets.
Giri Cherukuri, head trader at OakBrook Investments, which oversees $1.3 billion in Lisle, Illinois, said there was a battle between better-than-expected earnings in the financial sector and worries about the economy.