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Apple and Fed give boost to stocks

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Apple and Fed give boost to stocks

Stocks in the US moved lower on the open after a worse than expected retail sales report created headwinds for US equities.  Futures prices were higher on the open, after the Japanese Nikkei notched up solid gains.  Import prices were less than expected while business inventories did little to change the course of stock momentum.

Prior to the opening bell the commerce department released July’s retail sales report.  Retail sales climbed 0.2% in July month over month, a smaller increase than June’s 0.6% rise, according to the Commerce Department. Economists surveyed had forecast a 0.3% rise in retail sales.  Some positive figures that came out of the report include the 5.5% year over year increase in retail sales, which was driven by clothing and sporting goods.  Department store sales were also stellar growing faster than any time in the last 12-months.  Excluding automobiles, retail sales climbed by 0.5% in July.

Also in economic news, the Labor Department reported that US import prices rose 0.2% from the prior month, less than the 0.8% rise expected by economists. Excluding fuel, import prices fell by 0.4. According to the Labor Department, import prices from Japan fell by 0.5% in July. Prices for Chinese goods fell by 0.1%.

Late in the Trading session two events unfolded that gave a boost to stocks that were trading in the red.  First the Fed Lockhart made a statement that central bankers will need to be cautious with any tapering given the current economic environment.  Additionally, he said that it was unlikely that the Fed would taper this September.

With only a half hour left in the trading session, it was reported that Carl Icahn has tweeted that he had purchased significant amounts of Apple stock, and that he believed the stock was undervalued.  Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) later confirmed a conversation between Icahn and CEO Tim Cook, in which Icahn was excited about the company’s prospects, and believe a buyback program would be beneficial to shareholders.

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