The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) had fallen 45 points as of 11:35 a.m. EDT. Dow Jones component Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO ) fell alongside the index, while tech stocks Pandora (NYSE: P ) and NQ Mobile (NYSE: NQ ) were also active.
Retail sales disappoint
Perhaps fueling the Dow Jones' sell-off on Thursday, the Census Bureau said U.S. retail sales rose just 0.3% on a month-over-month basis in May, less than the 0.6% consensus estimate. Core retail sales, which exclude automobiles, rose 0.1%; economists had expected a gain of 0.4%.
Retail sales are just one measure of economic activity, but worse than expected results suggest the U.S. consumer is doing worse than anticipated.
Cisco leads the Dow Jones lower
Cisco fell more than 1% early in the session to stand as the Dow's worst-performing tech stock. There didn't appear to be much news to explain Cisco's drop; although it was falling harder than the Dow, the move may have been largely due to the broader market sell-off.
Cisco had rallied earlier this week, possibly on speculation that the company would be allowed to repatriate cash held abroad. Senator Rand Paul has been pushing for a tax holiday, which would temporarily lower corporate income taxes. Cisco has over $50 billion in cash on its balance sheet, much of it held abroad. A tax holiday could bring that cash back to the U.S., benefiting Cisco shareholders in the process.
NQ Mobile continues to drop
Shares of NQ Mobile fell 3.3% on Thursday, adding further to its recent weakness. Just yesterday, NQ Mobile shares fell more than 15%.
The software company has yet to release its 2013 annual report, fueling speculation that NQ Mobile may be fraudulent. Muddy Waters, a boutique research firm known for exposing Sino Forest, called the company a "massive fraud" worth $0 per share.
NQ Mobile has attempted to rebuke Muddy Waters' claims, but so long as investors are aware of the accusations facing the company, any delays in financial filings are likely to be met with further selling.
Pandora rises despite Amazon's entrance
Pandora shares were up nearly 0.4% early in the session. This comes despite Amazon.com entering the streaming music space.
Amazon Prime members can now access a catalog of more than 1 million songs, streaming them to their PC or mobile device. Amazon's service works more like Spotify than Pandora, but the existence of Prime Music could put further pressure on Pandora's listening numbers if it loses users to the e-commerce king. Pandora's rise suggests investors are discounting such a possibility.
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