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Stocks edge up following retail, inflation reports

September 13. 2013 10:40AM
Associated Press

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(AP) Stocks were mostly higher early Friday after the government reported a moderate increase in retail sales in August and tame inflation.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 35 points in the first 45 minutes of trading, or 0.2 percent, to 15,332. It fell 25 the day before.

Intel led the Dow higher after Jefferies & Co. upgraded its rating on the stock, saying the company is poised to gain market share with power-efficient chips. Intel rose 57 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $23.20.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up two points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,685. The Nasdaq composite index edged down six points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,709.

On Friday, the Commerce Department said Americans boosted their spending at retail businesses only modestly in August, roughly 0.2 percent, which was half of what economists had expected. The report was a mixed bag. Consumers did spend more on cars, electronics and furniture, but they didn't buy much else.

Last month, several retail chains including Nordstrom, Macy's and Wal-Mart cut their profit forecasts for the year.

The government also reported that wholesale prices rose 0.3 percent last month. But that means over the past year, prices have only gained 1.4 percent -- a sign that inflation remains modest. One thing driving wholesale prices higher was energy, which saw price spikes as a conflict with Syria looked increasingly likely.

Trading is expected to be light Friday as Wall Street heads into the weekend and the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur starts later this evening.

September has been very strong for stocks so far. The Dow is up 3.6 percent in September and the S&P 500 is up 3.3 percent in the same period.

In corporate news, Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrances surged as the company's fiscal second-quarter profit jumped 28 percent on stronger sales at its growing chain of beauty product stores. The stock jumped $13.52, or 13.5 percent, to $113.60.

Associated Press

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