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U.S. Stocks Edge Lower

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 9:52 AM
U.S. stocks edged lower in early trading notwithstanding unexpectedly strong retail sales data. At last check, the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index fell 0.18%; the NASDAQ Composite Index edged down 0.27% while the S&P 500 Index lost 0.17%. A data provided by the U.S. Commerce Department showed that retail sales in February climbed more than expected, substantiating the belief that the U.S. economy was rebounding. Even though gasoline prices shot up, Americans kept buying motor vehicles and spent money on other discretionary items. The data showed that retail sales climbed 1.1% in February, against economists’ expectation for 0.5% gain.   This was the biggest jump in retail spending since last September. Meanwhile, retail sales for January were upwardly revised to 0.2% from initial estimation of 0.1% gain. Shares of Dole Food Company (NYSE: DOLE) slumped over 8% in early trading hours after the fruit and vegetable producer reported that it swung into a loss in its fiscal fourth quarter while revenue also fell short of Street’s estimates. The Company cited weaker sales of fresh fruits and costs associated with divesture for its disappointing showing. Shares of Coach Inc. (NYSE: COH) gained in early trading hours after the luxury bag maker’s stock was upgraded by Citi to “buy” from “neutral”, citing stock has transformed from a “growth stock” to a “value stock.” Elsewhere in Europe, mainly all leading benchmark indexes traded lower as the market sentiment was subdued after a data release showed that that euro zone’s industrial output in January contracted more than expected. At last check, the Pan European Stoxx 600 Index edged down 0.19%. Elsewhere, in Asia markets ended lower as investors are worried about China’s stringent measures which aim to curb property buying. China’s benchmark index, the SSE plunged 0.99% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1.46% for the day.  
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