NEW YORK - A surprise drop in April retail sales undermined investor confidence that the economy was healing and sent Wall Street into a tailspin Wednesday.
The market has put a two-month rally on hold amid concern that an economic recovery won't come as fast as hoped. The Commerce Department said retail sales fell 0.4 percent last month, while economists had expected sales to be flat.
Investors watch these numbers closely because consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. Without improved spending, the economy is more likely to remain mired in a recession.
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