By  on August 14, 2009

Retail stocks and the major indices edged higher Thursday as investors weighed unexpectedly downbeat news about retail sales and jobs against signs, such as those issued Wednesday by the Federal Reserve, that the economy is stabilizing.

Although retail sales fell 0.1 percent in July and new unemployment claims rose to 558,000, both worse than analysts had expected, the S&P Retail Index picked up 0.3 percent to 367.91 as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other major stores reported better results than forecast. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4 percent to 9,398.19 while the S&P 500 was up 0.7 percent to 1,012.73.

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