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Markets take a beating as stocks end in the red

Hot Stock Minute

The Dow (^DJI) fell 1.01%. The Nasdaq (^IXIC) fell 0.76% and the S&P 500 (^GSPC) was down 0.94%.

Disappointing earnings and sales from Wal-Mart (WMT) and Kohl’s (KSS) did not help investor sentiment on Thursday. Wal-Mart shares closed down 2.43%  and Kohl’s closed down 3.37%. 

Retailers will remain in focus after the close today, as J.C. Penney (JCP) and Nordstrom (JWN) get set to report results.

Outside the world of earnings, General Motors (GM) recalls continued to grow. The automaker recalled 3 million vehicles globally to fix a variety of problems, including brake lights, headlamps, power brakes and windshield wipers. The recall includes Chevrolet Corvette, Malibu and Malibu Maxx models, the Pontiac G6, and Saturn Auras.GM said it expects to take a charge of up to $200 million this quarter to cover the cost of repairs.

Investors sifted through a handful of economic data as well, with some encouraging news on the job market. New claims for jobless benefits fell to a seven-year low last week. Meantime, consumer prices posted their biggest increase in 10 months fueled largely by a big jump in food and energy costs. But industrial output unexpectedly fell at its fastest rate in more than 1-1/2 years in April as factory production slowed down. 

The economy and small business will be the topic of conversation later this evening when Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.