Wall Street fell after disappointing results from Macy's sent retail stocks lower and offered concern about US consumer spending.

Shares of Macy's traded 15.9 per cent lower as of 2.49pm after it reported a larger-than-expected drop in comparable sales for its latest quarter.

"We now believe that our estimates did not accurately reflect the speed at which market-share losses would occur," Bridget Weishaar, an analyst at Morningstar, said in a note, Bloomberg reported. "Given first-quarter results, we think management will have a difficult time hitting its internal expectations for 2017."

Shares of rivals also dropped, with those of Kohl's down 6.3 per cent after it, too, reported a bigger-than-expected decline in quarterly sales, while JC Penney slumped 7.8 per cent, and Nordstrom fell 6.6 percent.

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In 2.46pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.1 per cent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index retreated 0.2 per cent. In 2.31pm trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 0.2 per cent.

The Dow fell as declines in shares of Microsoft and those of the Home Depot, down 1.4 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively, outweighed advances in shares of Merck and those of Caterpillar, recently both up 1 percent.

Meanwhile US Treasuries rose, sending yields on the 10-year note two basis points lower to 2.40 per cent. Gold firmed as well, with futures rising 0.5 per cent.

Also disappointing were the latest quarterly earnings of Snap, the owner of Snapchat. The stock sank, trading 21.4 per cent weaker as of 2.59pm in New York.

"Snap came to the public markets just as its user and monetisation growth were both starting to meaningfully slow," Instinet analyst Anthony DiClemente told Reuters. "It now faces incrementally fierce competition from deeper-pocketed rivals including Facebook."

Even so, Snap co-founder Evan Spiegel exuded confidence on an earnings call, Bloomberg reported

"I think, at this point, we're kind of famous for not giving guidance on the product pipeline," Spiegel said, according to Bloomberg. "But we're obviously really excited about it and we love surprising our community."

"It should be a fun rest of the year," he said.

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In Europe the Stoxx 600 Index ended the day with a 0.5 per cent drop from the previous close. France's CAC40 Index shed 0.3 per cent, while Germany's DAX Index declined 0.4 per cent.

The UK's FTSE 100 Index eked out a 0.02 per cent gain.

In Singapore, shares of Noble Group tanked after the Hong Kong-based commodities trader posted a first-quarter loss, citing a "very challenging" operating environment.

Noble Group posted an adjusted net loss of US$130 million for the three months ended March 31, compared with a profit of US$83 million in the same quarter a year earlier, it said.

"If you assess their earnings power of the past one year, based on the current profit runway, their debt-load is not sustainable," Danny Huang, director of corporate ratings at Standard & Poor's in Hong Kong, adding that bank support remains important for Noble, told Bloomberg.

"The headline loss of $130 million doesn't look very good and we have to see what are the reasons for that, even though one would be reasonable not to expect them to report a huge recovery," according to Huang.

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Shares of the Singapore-listed company closed 32.4 per cent weaker. It was the stock's one-day biggest tumble on record.

"Managements continues to be focused on increasing efficiencies and re-aligning the cost structure," the company said in the statement.

During Noble Group's results call, company executives downplayed any concerns about liquidity and debt levels, according to Reuters.