US STOCKS-Wall St falls as Greek worries color economy view

* ECB fails to offer new action on Greece

* Worries of Greece contagion pressure markets

* Most April retail sales miss expectations

* Dow off 1 pct, S&P off 1.2 pct, Nasdaq off 1.3 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Recasts lead, updates to early afternoon)

By Leah Schnurr

NEW YORK, May 6 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) slid on Thursday
after the European Central Bank failed to take fresh measures
to help stem the Greek debt crisis, cutting deeper into the
appetite for risk and putting weak U.S. retail sales into
sharper relief.

Most top retail chains reported worse-than-expected
same-store sales for April, sparking concerns about consumer
spending. For details, see [ID:nN05176011]

The retail sales figures raised the question of whether the
consumer was showing signs of fatigue or whether an early
Easter had distorted the figures by taking a bite out of
April’s sales, Craig Peckham, equity trading strategist at
Jefferies & Company in New York, said.

In the final tally, same-store sales for both March and
April rose less than analysts had expected.

“Given the deteriorating sentiment from a risk standpoint,
it seems as though equity investors are taking a more negative
view of something fundamental in here,” said Peckham.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) fell 142.91 points,
or 1.31 percent, to 10,725.21. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index
(.SPX: ) dropped 19.21 points, or 1.65 percent, to 1,146.69. The
Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) shed 44.94 points, or 1.87
percent, to 2,357.35.

Disappointing retail sales hit shares including warehouse
club Costco Wholesale Corp (COST.O: ), which fell 3.3 percent to
$58.40, and apparel maker Gap Inc (GPS.N: ) , which lost 4.2
percent at $23.65.

Fears that Greece’s debt crisis could spread to other euro
zone nations with heavy debt loads drove an underlying negative
tone in the market. Investors were disappointed the ECB did not
discuss the outright purchase of European sovereign debt as
some had hoped for, but gave verbal support instead to Greece’s
savings plan. The ECB left interest rates at a record low.

“There’s just a state of unease that continues to get worse
seemingly by the day as the contagion fear really becomes more
acute,” said Peckham.

The head of the ECB, Jean-Claude Trichet, said on Thursday
that Spain and Portugal were not in the same boat as Greece,
but the risk premium that investors demand to hold Portuguese
and Spanish government bonds flared to record highs.

The strong U.S. dollar weighed on shares of major exporters
with the euro falling to a 14-month low against the greenback
as investors sought safe-haven bets.

Industrial companies, which are also sensitive to the
outlook of global economic growth, were among the biggest
losers. Caterpillar (CAT.N: ) was the biggest weight on the Dow,
falling 3.1 percent to $63.93.

The S&P 500 hit technical support and a session low near
1,150, the benchmark’s January high. If it significantly
breaches that level, support could be found at around 1,132,
the 50 percent Fibonacci retracement of the 11-week run from
1,044 in early February to 1,219 in late April.

John Canally, investment strategist and economist at LPL
Financial in Boston, said investors appeared to be looking at
1,151 as an entry point into the market.

Even so, declining stocks carried the day, beating
advancing shares by about 5 to 1 on the New York Stock

Mixed economic data wasn’t enough to boost stocks as U.S.
productivity grew solidly in the first quarter but the number
of workers filing claims for jobless aid fell less than
expected last week. [ID:nN06255978]


(Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Leslie

US STOCKS-Wall St falls as Greek worries color economy view