U.S. stocks mixed on retailers, financial worries

08:17, November 18, 2010      

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The U.S. stocks traded mixed on Wednesday as gains among retailers offset sinking financials.

According to a government report, U.S. consumer prices showed a modest rise of 0.2 percent in October on the back of higher gasoline prices, and underlying inflation remained flat for the third straight month.

Meanwhile, U.S. home construction in October fell to its lowest level in 18 months. U.S. housing starts fell 11.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 519,000, while building permits increased 0.5 percent to 550,000.

Consumer-discretionary stocks lifted the markets on encouraging results from big retailers. Target said its third-quarter earnings rose 23 percent, beating analysts' forecasts. BJ's Wholesale Club reported a 32-percent earnings jump and raised its full-year earnings forecast.

Financial stocks dragged markets after The Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is conducting about 50 criminal investigations of former executives, directors and employees at U.S. banks that have failed since the start of the financial crisis.

The Dow Jones average was down 15.62 points, or 0.14 percent, to 11,007.88. The S&P 500 index rose 0.25 point, or 0.02 percent, to 1,178.59 and the Nasdaq composite added 6.17 points, or 0.25 percent, to 2,476.01.

Crude oil declined to a four-week low on demand concerns. Light, sweet crude for December delivery fell 1.90 dollars to 80.44 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Source: Xinhua


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