NEW YORK, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Wall Street's major averages opened lower on Friday after data showed a record plunge in U.S. retail sales.
Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 166.55 points, or 0.7 percent, to 23,458.79. The S&P 500 slid 22.94 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,829.56. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 84.16 points, or 0.94 percent, to 8,859.56.
Ten of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors dipped, with utilities down more than 1.6 percent, the worst-performing group. Consumer staples rose 0.16 in morning trading, the only gainer.
U.S. retail sales sank 16.4 percent in April, the Commerce Department reported on Friday, worse than forecasts of a 12 percent drop. It is the sharpest decrease in retail sales on record as the COVID-19 pandemic forced Americans to stay at home and many businesses to close.
U.S. equities closed higher on Thursday with the Dow rallying about 377 points, bolstered by solid gains in bank shares.