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U.S. stocks were lower across the board in afternoon trade on Wednesday, with tech stocks leading the way lower but some meme trades still out in full force underneath the surface.
Near 1:00 p.m. ET, the tech-heavy Nasdaq was down 1.3%, while the S&P 500 was off 0.8%, and the Dow down 0.5%.
Retail earnings, retail sales data, and an inflation check from the U.K. all combined to weigh on investor sentiment on Wednesday.
Key retail sales data for July out Wednesday morning showed sales growth was flat from June to July, missing expectations for a 0.1% increase. Excluding autos and gas, sales rose 0.7% in July.
Sales at gasoline stations fell 1.8% in July, an expected decline given the drop witnessed in gas prices over the last few months.
On the earnings side, results from Target showed the company’s quarterly earnings missed expectations as its key same-store sales measures rose 2.6% against expectations for a 2.8% increase in the second quarter.
These results come after Walmart (WMT) reported a better-than-expected quarter on Tuesday, lifting some investor hopes consumer spending may remain durable in the face of rising prices.
On a call with reporters early Wednesday, Target emphasized its optimism for the upcoming holiday season, and said its needed inventory adjustments weighted on second quarter results.
Target shares were down about 2% in afternoon trading.
Shares of TJ Maxx parent TJX (TJX) rose as much as 3.5% on Wednesday, reversing earlier losses that followed the company’s quarterly report out in the morning that showed second quarter sales missed estimates.
Inflation data from the U.K. out Wednesday also showed consumer prices rose 10.1% in July, with some banks now expecting inflation in the U.K. to hit 15% next year. Though recent data suggests a moderation in U.S. inflation pressures, European consumers and businesses do not appear out of the woods just yet.
Elsewhere, investors will continue to keep a close eye on energy markets, with WTI crude oil futures settling at their lowest level since January 25 on Tuesday. WTI futures were up about 1% on Wednesday afternoon.
The meme stock rally also continued early Wednesday, with shares of Bed, Bath & Beyond (BBBY) up 20% in afternoon trade after shares rallied 29% on Tuesday. During Tuesday’s trading session shares were halted at least twice for volatility.
After the market close on Tuesday, Ryan Cohen’s RC Ventures disclosed it holds call options on 1.6 million shares of Bed, Bath & Beyond, with strike prices between $60-$80. Shares were trading at around $25 early Wednesday.
Elsewhere in market oddities, Elon Musk was at it again late Tuesday, tweeting that he was going to buy English football club Manchester United (MANU) before clarifying the tweet was a joke. Man U has started its Premier League season with two embarrassing losses and currently sits in last place.
Bloomberg later reported the Glazer family, which owns the football club, would consider selling a minority stake.
The S&P 500 on Tuesday also traded up to its 200-day moving average, a long-term technical indicator that broadly points to a security’s overall trend. The S&P’s 200-day is currently declining and stands at around 4,323, a level the index hit on Tuesday and immediately traded lower from before closing at 4,305.
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