Wall Street edges higher as retail stocks gain

(Reuters) – Wall Street edged higher on Wednesday as Macy’s strong results helped drive gains in retails stocks and more than offset losses in energy shares.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 2, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Macy’s (M.N) rose 5.7 percent after reporting a much better-than-expected rise in same-store sales and quarterly profit in the first quarter. That helped shares of other retailers, including J. C. Penney (JCP.N), Kohl’s (KSS.N) and Nordstrom (JWN.N), which were all up between 1.5 percent and 3 percent.

The consumer discretionary index .SPLRCD rose 0.61 percent, providing the biggest boost to the S&P 500 index.

However, a fall in oil prices and growing doubts about the U.S.-North Korea summit next month capped gains on the major indexes.

North Korea threw next month’s summit between Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump into doubt, threatening weeks of diplomatic progress by saying it may reconsider if Washington insists it unilaterally gives up its nuclear weapons.

The country’s threat to cancel the June 12 summit in Singapore adds to the jitters in the market, which is already dealing with China-U.S. trade tensions and inflation concerns.

Oil prices took a hit from an anticipated rise in U.S. crude inventory, pulling the S&P energy index .SPNY down 0.25 percent.

At 9:55 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 44.59 points, or 0.18 percent, at 24,751.00, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 8.13 points, or 0.30 percent, at 2,719.58 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 26.33 points, or 0.36 percent, at 7,377.96.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI and the Nasdaq .IXIC recorded their biggest one-day percentage drop in three weeks on Tuesday after strong retail sales data stoked inflation worries.

“Traders are looking for some stability coming off of the sharp decline yesterday,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at New Vines Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

“(They are) looking for a little more visibility coming from the trade front with China even as concern over inflation keeps rearing its head.”

The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield US10YT=RR spiked above the key 3 percent level to its highest since July 2011 on Tuesday after the retail data.

Federal funds futures implied that traders saw a 54 percent chance that the U.S. Federal Reserve would raise rates for a fourth time by year-end. [MMT/]

Micron (MU.O) rose 3.3 percent after RBC Capital Markets began coverage with an “outperform” rating, while AMD (AMD.O) gained 1.7 percent after a rating upgrade at Susquehanna.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.43-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.02-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded nine new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 51 new highs and 19 new lows.

(This version of the story corrects fourth bullet to “up” from “down”.)

Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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