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Wall St edges higher as retail stocks gain

Macy’s jumps after results, lifts other department stores.

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.

Macy’s rose 5.7% 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 JC Penney, Kohl’s and Nordstrom, which were all up between 1.5% and 3%.

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

However, a fall in oil prices and growing doubts about the US-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-US trade tensions and inflation concerns.

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

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq 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 US 10-year Treasury yield spiked above the key 3% level to its highest since July 2011 on Tuesday after the retail data.

Federal funds futures implied that traders saw a 54% chance that the US Federal Reserve would raise rates for a fourth time by year-end.

Micron rose 3.3% after RBC Capital Markets began coverage with an “outperform” rating, while AMD gained 1.7% 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. 

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