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5/15/2003

Stocks fall on tepid retail sales report

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — A disappointing retail sales report sent Wall Street lower Wednesday after investors worried that the economic recovery might be sluggish in the months ahead.

Analysts said investors opted to cash in profits after pushing stocks higher for several weeks on better-than-expected earnings. Many are now looking for signs of continuing economic growth, and the retail report failed to provide that, they said.

“People want a reason to be bullish, and unfortunately we just don’t have the compelling evidence to have a sustainable new trend here,” said Charles White, portfolio strategist at Avatar Associates.

“That said, we’re probably a couple of good pieces of news on the economy away to be able to find a catalyst to break us out” much higher, he said.

The Dow Jones closed down 31.43 at 8,647.82.