US Stocks Mixed as Market Downplays Economic Data, Europe
06/13/2012| 11:36am US/Eastern
By Alexandra Scaggs
NEW YORK--U.S. stocks erased early-morning losses in choppy trading, shrugging off weak data and worries about Europe.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 9 points, or 0.1%, to 12567. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index was flat, at 1323, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 4 points, or 0.2%, to 2847.
U.S. retail sales slipped for the second consecutive month in May, the first string of declines in nearly two years. While the measure fell by less than expected in May, April retail sales were revised downward into negative territory. Businesses held more inventory than expected in April because of sluggish sales.
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. rose 2.3%, and was the fourth-largest gainer in early trading. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon's testimony to the Senate gave the impression the bank wouldn't see crippling fallout from its unexpected $2 billion trading loss.
"He's appeasing the stock market here, so now we're calm to the fact that J.P. Morgan isn't going to get decimated" by its losses, said Ryan Detrick, chief technical strategist with Schaeffer's Investment Research. "That's led us back a bit."
European markets erased early gains to turn mostly lower as worries about Spain's debt and banking crisis festered and investors responded to weak economic data. Euro-zone industrial output was at its weakest level since September 2010 in April.
The Stoxx Europe 600 was down 0.3%, after being up 0.4% at its intraday high.
Asian markets were mostly higher following Tuesday's U.S. gains, with Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rising 0.6% and China's Shanghai Composite climbing 1.3%.
Crude-oil futures slipped 0.2% to $83.46 a barrel, while gold futures rose 0.6% to $1623 an ounce. The U.S. dollar lost ground against the euro and the yen.
In corporate news, shares of Dell rose 4.5% after the computer maker said it plans to start paying a quarterly cash dividend of 8 cents a share.
Johnson & Johnson gained 1.1%. The blue chip health-care company said it received regulatory clearance to close its $19.7 billion bid for medical-device maker Synthes. Analysts from J.P. Morgan Chase, Jefferies & Co. Inc., and Raymond James Financial subsequently upgraded the stock.
Facebook edged up 0.8%, putting it on track to post back-to-back gains for just the second time since going public. The stock rose 1.5% Tuesday to close at a one-and-a-half-week high.
Scotts Miracle-Gro dropped 8% after announcing it expects to fall short of estimates of full-year earnings and sales growth it had provided earlier as a result of slowing consumer demand and lower-than-expected margin rates.
Printing company 3D Systems fell 5.6% after the company said it is offering shares of its common stock for sale to the public.
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