The markets plummeted today amid poor jobs data and mixed retail sales, MarketWatch reports. Falling oil futures again failed to stimulate stocks as energy increasingly looks like a victim, not a perpetrator, of the economic slump. The Dow fell 344.65 to close at 11,188.23. The Nasdaq lost 74.69, closing at 2,259.04, and the S&P 500 shed 42.15, settling at 1,232.83.
New unemployment claims rose 15,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 444,000; economists had predicted a slight fall. Meanwhile, JC Penney and Kohl’s reported sales declines, though Wal-Mart posted a slight rise. “We've had a pretty good rally in the stock market from the lows in July,” one analyst told the Wall Street Journal, “but somehow sentiment has really never gotten that optimistic.”