With under an hour to go to the close in New York, the Dow was trading down 0.42% or 61 points at 15,437, with Alcoa its sole gaining component. The S&P 500 (-0.26%) and the NASDAQ 100 (0.14%) also held on to their losses in low-volume trading.
With earnings season now petering out, there has been little news with any sparkle to draw money into the stock market. The main talking point this week has been a succession of officials from the Fed making suggestions that tapering could be at hand. Although this voicing of support for early tapering does beg the question of why the last FOMC statement offered no indications in that regard whatsoever, the lack of uncertainty over the issue has helped knock share prices lower this week.
The main piece of US macro news today was the surprise drop in inventory levels at wholesalers. The 0.2% drop seen in June may suggest the existence of a certain amount of caution about the prospects for the economy. Sales rose 0.4%, taking the inventory-to-sales ratio down to a slim 1.17 from 1.18 in May. It will be interesting to see if inventory data for the retail sector follows suit when the report for June is released next Tuesday.