U.S. equities closed mostly lower on Friday as investors digested a tough week for retailers as well as mixed economic data.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell about 23 points, with Goldman Sachs and UnitedHealth contributing the most losses. General Electric was the biggest laggard in the 30-stock index after Deutsche Bank downgraded the stock to sell from hold. The Dow also snapped a three-week winning streak.
The S&P 500 dropped 0.15 percent, with industrials lagging, and snapped a three-week winning streak. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) fell 1.8 percent.
The fall in retailers came after J.C. Penney's stock dropped 14 percent in afternoon trade. The company reported mixed quarterly results, with earnings topping expectations but same-stores sales fell more than expected.
"What this means for investors is tread softly. Just because a stock is low in price, it doesn't mean it's cheap. Our friends at J.C. Penney have shown us that," said Kim Forrest, senior equity analyst at Fort Pitt Capital.
Several retailers, including Macy's and Nordstrom, have seen their stocks tank this week after reporting weaker-than-expected quarterly results, putting the sector under pressure.
SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) this week
Investors kept a close eye on the retail space as they assessed the strength of the U.S. consumer, a key component of the U.S. economy.
In economic news, the Commerce Department said retail sales increased 0.4 percent in April from March, less than expected.
Meanwhile, consumer prices rose 0.2 percent in April, in line with expectations. In the 12 months through April, the CPI increased 2.2 percent.
While that was a slowdown from March's 2.4 percent increase, the year-on-year gain in the CPI was still larger than the 1.7 percent average annual increase over the past 10 years.
"The package of economic data we got had mixed tone to it," said Bill Northey, chief investment officer at the Private Client Group at U.S. Bank. "I think it underscores how weak the first quarter was."