U.S. Stocks shrugged off a big sell off in Japan and were trading mostly higher after economic data.
Initial jobless claims fell 12,000 last week to 334,000. Economists had expected claims to come in at 350,000. The less volatile four-week moving average fell 7,250 to 345,250. The data comes after last week’s payroll report that showed steady but slow progress in the job market.
Retail sales rose a better-than-expected 0.6% in May from April levels. Sales are up 4.3% year-over-year. A 1.8% increase in auto sales was the biggest driver of sales in the month. Excluding vehicles and parts, sales were up a more modest 0.3% in the month.
Business inventories rose 0.3% in April, in line with expectations. Sales fell 0.1% in the month bringing up the inventory to sales ratio up to 1.31 from 1.30 in March.
Import prices fell again in May, declining 0.6% in the month from April levels. Prices are down 1.9% year-over-year. A 2% drop in oil prices was the biggest driver of the decline.
At midday the Dow and Nasdaq were each up 0.4% while the S&P 500 was 0.5% higher.
Stocks on the Move
There was relatively little corporate news this morning.
Shares of Clearwire (CLWR) were up 1.3% after it recommended investors take DISH Network Corp (DISH) $4.40 a share tender offer for the company and reject Sprint’s (S) offer of $3.40 a share. The announcement comes shortly after Dish hit a roadblock in its bid to acquire Sprint. Earlier this week Sprint’s board agreed to a sweetened offer from Japanese telecom Softbank. At midday Dish shares were down over 0.5% while Sprint shares were up less than 0.5%.
Asian markets plunged today. The Nikkei 225 fell 6.4%, putting Japanese shares firmly into bear market territory. The Shanghai Composite was down 2.8% while the Hang Seng was off 2.2%.
Jeremy Glaser does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.