NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks edged higher early Friday following stronger than expected US retail sales, pointing towards a positive conclusion to a choppy week in markets.
Heading into Friday’s session, two of the three major stocks indices were on track for weekly losses, reflecting unease about inflation and profit taking after a string of equity market records earlier in the month.
But investors greeted data showing retail sales rose 0.6 percent last month to $621.3 billion, beating forecasts for a decline and reflecting sales increases at department stores, electronics and appliance retailers and clothing outlets.
About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 35,029.73, up 0.1 percent.
The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.1 percent to 4,365.46, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.2 percent to 14,573.88.
Besides data showing unexpectedly high inflation, this week also featured a restatement of the Federal Reserve’s dovish posture on monetary policy from Fed Chair Jerome Powell as well as a round of strong earnings, mostly from large banks.
However, shares of leading banks fell after the reports, with analysts attributing the decline to a “sell the news” dynamic following earlier gains.
Among individual companies, Dow member Intel advanced 1.6 percent following a Wall Street Journal report that it is considering a deal to buy speciality semiconductor chip maker GlobalFoundries for about $30 billion.