Dow in the red for fourth straight session

Trading has been calm today, but US stocks are generally lacking the impetus to move higher.

In the last hour of trading in New York, the Dow was down 0.3% or 43 points at 15,038 and at these levels is on course for its fourth session in a row of losses, which would be the longest losing streak so far this year. The S&P 500 was down 0.39% and is also facing a run of four losses in a row.

Saks today became the latest retailer to post disappointing results, reporting a bigger-than-expected loss for its fiscal second quarter. Revenue came in below estimates, while costs increased, leading to a loss of 13 cents per share, much wider than the 8 cents per share loss that had been forecast by a Reuters survey of analysts.

We heard a succession of similar stories from other companies in the same sector last week, with Macy’s, Nordstrom and Wal-Mart all reporting below-par sales. We have more retailers reporting after the bell tonight, including Urban Outfitters.

Despite the lacklustre nature of the wider market, it’s been a good day for technology stocks, with Apple, Google and Intel all advancing well over 1%. Today marks the ninth anniversary of Google’s flotation. Back in 2004 shares were sold at $85 as part of its IPO. At the time of writing, Google was up 1.36% at $868, the company’s market capitalisation being some $270-odd billion more than at the time it floated. What a difference nine years can make.

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