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US stocks fall; retail sales post solid gain

US stocks fall; retail sales post solid gainNEW YORK: Wall Street stocks fell in early trade Thursday after US data showed a solid gain in retail sales and a modest uptick in jobless claims.

About 35 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 17,346.65, down 556 points (0.32 percent).

The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 6.76 (0.32 percent) to 2,079.29, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 11.50 (0.23 percent) to 5,032.89.

US stocks were up slightly five minutes into trade, but moved into the red soon after that.

“This market continues to find difficulty in knowing what to think with so many mixed-up signals from the economic data, central banks, earnings, and the market behavior itself,” said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare.

Overall US retail sales rose 0.6 percent in July from June to $ 446.5 billion, a slightly bigger increase than the 0.5 percent gain projected by analysts, according to the Commerce Department.

Some analysts said the retail sales report bolstered the case for a Federal Reserve hike to benchmark US interset rates as soon as September. O’Hare said the drop in stocks could reflect investor’s ambivalence about the chances of an imminent Fed rate hike.

The US Department of Labor reported that jobless claims rose 5,000 to 274,000 in the week ending August 13.

Dow member Cisco Systems jumped 4.3 percent as it reported that earnings for the quarter ending July 25 came in at 59 cents per share, three cents above analyst expectations.

News Corp. gained 6.7 percent despite reporting a loss of $ 379 million for the quarter ending June 30 due to a writedown of its Amplify digital education business. Excluding charges, earnings translated to seven cents per share, two cents above analyst estimates.

Department store chain Kohl’s tumbled 19,2 percent as second-quarter net income fell 44 percent to $ 130 million.

Upscale burger chain Shake Shack sank 7.8 percent to $ 59.77 as it announced it was pricing an offering of 600,000 shares at $ 60 per share.

Bond prices were mixed. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.17 percent from 2.15 percent Wednesday, while the 30-year held steady at 2.84 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

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