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Retailer Earnings Drive US Stocks Up   08/21 09:26

   U.S. stocks marched broadly higher in early trading Wednesday as investors 
welcomed a batch of strong earnings reports from several big retailers.

   (AP) -- U.S. stocks marched broadly higher in early trading Wednesday as 
investors welcomed a batch of strong earnings reports from several big 
retailers.

   Target and Lowe's surged, leading a rally in retail stocks, as the market 
bounced back from its first loss in four days. Technology companies accounted 
for a big share of the market's gains. Microsoft gained 1.3% and Apple rose 
1.2%.

   Health care stocks also climbed. Merck rose 1.1%. 

   Financial stocks rose as bond prices fell, pushing yields higher. American 
Express picked up 1.1%. Real estate and utilities lagged the rest of the market.

   The rally came ahead of the afternoon release of the minutes from the 
Federal Reserve's latest interest rate policy meeting. Investors will be 
seeking insight into the Fed's willingness to make further interest rate cuts 
to help shore up the economy. The Fed lowered interest rates by a quarter-point 
at its last meeting, the first cut in a decade.

   The stock market has been volatile this month as investors try to parse 
conflicting signals on the U.S. economy and determine whether a recession is on 
the way. A key concern is that the U.S.-Chinese tariff war will weigh on global 
economic growth.

   KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 was up 0.8% as of 10:10 a.m. Eastern Time. The 
Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 236 points, or 0.9%, to 26,199. The Nasdaq 
added 1%.

   Major indexes in Europe also headed broadly higher. 

   ON TARGET: After mixed results from retailers on Tuesday, Target soared 19% 
after easily beating profit forecasts for its second quarter as it pushes 
faster delivery and invests heavily in new private label brands.

   MUCH IMPROVED: Lowe's jumped 11.6% after the home improvement retailer's 
latest quarterly results blew past expectations, buoyed by strong demand for 
spring goods and sales to contractors. The company's strong quarter came even 
as it wrestled with lower lumber prices and rough spring weather.

   Lowe's solid earnings came a day after rival Home Depot reported strong 
results of its own. Home Depot added 1%.

   LOOKING SLICK: Urban Outfitters climbed 6.9% after the company reported 
improving trends throughout its latest quarter. 


(CZ)

 
 
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