Wall Street dips on mixed data

Good retail numbers, soft jobs figures provide contrasting signals.

United States stocks are in the red in early afternoon trade following mixed economic data on the retail and job markets.

At 0530 AEDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had shed 99.05 points, or 0.63%, to 15,744.48.

The broad-based S&P 500 slipped 5.43 points, or 0.30%, to 1,776.79, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index was off a meagre 1.38 points, or 0.03%, to 4,002.44.

The market's weakness followed a sell-off Wednesday amid profit-taking after strong gains in equities this year.

US retail sales rose 0.7% in November, a key month that kicks off the important year-end holiday shopping season. Analysts had expected a softer increase of 0.6%.

On the downside, new jobless claims rose to 368,000 in the week ending December 7 from the prior week's upwardly revised figure of 300,000, the Labor Department said.

Analysts had pegged the figure to come in at 315,000.

Meanwhile, expectations are high the latest US budget deal will be pushed the the House and the Senate, removing one more obstacle to a reduction in economic stimulus.