Wall Street falls in choppy trading, catalysts scarce
US stocks fell in afternoon trading today after swinging between gains and losses for most of the session as the lack of major corporate earnings or market-affecting data kept trading directionless.
US wholesale inventories rose more than expected in January, as companies built up stocks of autos and machinery, but sales posted their largest decline in nearly five years.
Retailers in the news included American Eagle and Urban Outfitters, their shares down sharply after disappointing outlooks.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 46.93 points or 0.29 percent, to 16,371.75, the S&P 500 lost 6.04 points or 0.32 percent, to 1,871.13 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 11.349 points or 0.26 percent, to 4,323.099.
German shares rose, outperforming European stocks more broadly, as strong trade data from the region's largest economy revived investor appetite for the DAX index.
Wider market sentiment was still undermined by the crisis in Ukraine, where confrontation between Kiev and Moscow showed no sign of easing.
Frankfurt's blue-chip DAX index posted a 0.5 percent gain after Germany reported stronger-than-expected exports and imports in January.
Europe's broader FTSEurofirst 300 index closed flat at 1,321.39 points. The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 was down 0.12 percent to close at 2,885.79 points