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US stocks little changed on mixed signs in retail

/ 07:01 AM August 14, 2015
Trader Christopher Morie, left, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. Wall Street stocks finished little changed Thursday in choppy trade as retail sales bested expectations, even as leading department stores reported lower profits.  AP PHOTO/RICHARD DREW

Trader Christopher Morie, left, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. Wall Street stocks finished little changed Thursday in choppy trade as retail sales bested expectations, even as leading department stores reported lower profits. AP PHOTO/RICHARD DREW

NEW YORK–Wall Street stocks finished little changed Thursday in choppy trade as retail sales bested expectations, even as leading department stores reported lower profits.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 17,408.25, up 5.74 points (0.03 percent).

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The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 2.66 (0.13 percent) to 2,083.39, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 10.83 (0.21 percent) at 5,033.56. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were in positive territory much of the day.

US retail sales rose 0.6 percent in July from June levels, to $446.5 billion, beating expectations and sparking speculation that the Federal Reserve could lift interest rates as soon as September.

But department store Kohl’s shares tumbled 8.8 percent as it reported lower-than-expected earnings, with second-quarter net income falling 44 percent to $130 million.

Dillard’s, another department store, also reported lower profits, with net income dropping 13.3 percent to $29.9 million. That translated into 75 cents per share, three cents above expectations. Shares of Dillard’s rose 2.4 percent.

Dow member Cisco Systems jumped 2.9 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 7.6 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 7 cents per share, 2 cents above analyst estimates.

Solar company SunEdison rose 5.2 percent after analyst reports from Credit Suisse and RBC Capital suggested a recent sell-off in the stock was excessive, with RBC saying the company is “well prepared to weather a perfect storm” of challenges.

Advance Auto Parts surged 9.2 percent after reporting second-quarter earnings rose 7.5 percent to $150 million.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.18 percent from 2.15 percent, while the 30-year advanced to 2.86 percent from 2.84 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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