US STOCKS-Wall St edges higher after ECB statement, retail sales data

Reuters

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    * U.S. retail sales in May beat expectations
    * Comcast jumps after making $65 bln offer for Fox 
    * Indexes: Dow down 0.03 pct, S&P up 0.27 pct, Nasdaq up
0.82 pct 

 (Changes comments, add details, updates prices)
    By Sruthi Shankar
    June 14 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks ticked higher on Thursday
after the European Central Bank promised not to raise euro zone
interest rates before the middle of next year and on
better-than-expected May retail sales.
    The bank's statement came as a relief to investors,
especially after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised rates for the
second time this year on Wednesday and hinted at two more hikes
by the end of 2018.
    ECB, however, said it would wind down its 2.55 trillion euro
stimulus program by the close of the year.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N1TG0UZ
    Shares of banks, which rely on higher interest rates to
boost profits, took a hit, with J.P Morgan Chase's 1.8 percent
fall weighing the most on the S&P 500.
    "You have the yield curve continuing to flatten, which is
not great for financial stocks," said Michael Antonelli,
managing director, institutional sales trading at Robert W.
Baird in Milwaukee.
    The yield spread between U.S. 30-year bonds and U.S. 5-year
notes narrowed to the flattest level since January 2012 on
Wednesday after the Fed decision. 
    Data on Thursday showed U.S. retail sales increased more
than expected in May, its biggest advance since November 2017
that indicated an acceleration in economic growth in the second
quarter.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N1TF1ZT
    Other data showed a further tightening in labor market
conditions, with the number of Americans on jobless rolls
declining to a near 44-1/2-year low.
     At 11:46 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI 
was down 8.52 points, or 0.03 percent, at 25,192.68, the S&P 500
 .SPX  was up 7.60 points, or 0.27 percent, at 2,783.23 and the
Nasdaq Composite  .IXIC  was up 62.77 points, or 0.82 percent,
at 7,758.46.
    Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, led by a 1.2
percent gain in the telecom services index  .SPLRCL .
    Comcast  CMCSA.O  jumped 2.9 percent after the company
offered Twenty-First Century Fox  FOXA.O  $65 billion to lure it
away from a merger with Walt Disney  DIS.N .  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N1TF5B8
    Disney also rose 1.9 percent, providing the biggest boost to
the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
    Oracle  ORCL.N  dropped 4.1 percent after Nomura cut its
price target on the business software maker's stock.
    Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.31-to-1 ratio
on the NYSE and for a 1.23-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
    The S&P index recorded 27 new 52-week highs and one new low,
while the Nasdaq recorded 119 new highs and 19 new lows.        
   

 (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil
D'Silva)
 ((sruthi.shankar@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223
8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6749 6328; Reuters Messaging:
sruthi.shankar.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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