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Wall St weighed down by lackluster data

Sep 14, 2011, 8:08 a.m.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) September 12, 2011. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks fell on Wednesday as optimism faded over comments about possible new euro zone bonds to help ease the region's debt crisis, and lackluster data on U.S. retail sales gave investors pause.

Stocks dropped further after an Austrian parliamentary panel failed to pass changes to a euro zone bailout fund, possibly delaying government approval until October. Officials said approval was only delayed, not endangered.

In the latest U.S. economic data, growth in retail sales stalled in August after political battling undermined faith that Washington could steer the country clear of a double-dip recession.

Also, U.S. business inventories rose slightly less than expected in July, suggesting caution by firms about demand at the start of the third quarter.

"Huge market turmoil had an obvious impact on retail sales at the same time job hires remain lackluster," said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak + Co in New York.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 59.11 points, or 0.53 percent, at 11,046.74. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> dipped 4.66 points, or 0.40 percent, at 1,168.21. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was off 1.18 points, or 0.05 percent, at 2,530.97.

Big-cap technology companies supported the Nasdaq, which outperformed other indexes.

Dell Inc's board authorized an additional share repurchase one month after the big personal computer maker slashed its sales forecast on uncertainty in government and corporate spending. The stock was up 1.9 percent at $14.65.

Cisco Inc rose 0.9 percent to $16.49. The company slashed its long-term forecasts late Tuesday, but the stock rose on the view it was seeking to reduce costs and set itself on a path for slower but more stable growth.

(Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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