By Ovunc Kutlu
ANKARA (AA) - Major indexes in the US stock market opened Friday on a lower note as retail sales in the country declined for a third consecutive month.
The Dow Jones was down 140 points, or 0.45% at 30,851 points at 9.45 a.m. EDT (1445 GMT), while the S&P 500 fell 13 points, or 0.34%, to 3,782 points.
The Nasdaq, on the other hand, managed to remain flat around 13,112 points.
US retail and food services sales came at $540.9 billion in December, which was a decrease of 0.7% from the previous month, according to Census Bureau data released earlier.
While the market expectation was a decline of 0.2% last month, retail sales plummeted by 1.4% in November.
National Retail Federation (NRF), the nation's largest retail trade association, said President-elect Joe Biden's stimulus plan announced Thursday is "expansive in scope" and it is "an encouraging signal" to support businesses and consumers.
"Jobs have been lost, businesses have been closed and our economy has struggled. We support ... further aid for small businesses across the country, and tools to keep businesses open and the economy growing," President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement Thursday.
Biden's $1.9-trillion COVID-19 relief plan includes immediate measures toward housing, education and COVID-19 testing.
The bill is the first of two major stimulus packages that Biden will urgently seek for approval after his inauguration on Jan. 20, while a second bill expected in February will include broader measures, such as job creation, lowering unemployment, and fighting racial inequality and climate change.