Stocks Get Rise From Retail Sales

Stocks rose Thursday on the strongest retail sales gains in two years, but the report and others also served as a reminder that inflation pressures remain a threat.

Tech stocks gained the most on the day, rising nearly 1% and reversing a month of underperformance. Falling oil prices also contributed to the gains.

Retail sales rose 6.6% in the month of April, according to an International Council of Shopping Centers-UBS report, with the official tally to be released next week by the Commerce Department.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported a big gain in productivity in the first quarter — which can help restrain inflationary pressures — but an even bigger gain in wages, which can fan inflationary pressures.

The inflation debate will continue on Friday with the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report. Economists are looking for gains of 200,000 jobs in April and wage gains of 0.3%.

The Federal Reserve is expected to continue its two-year rate hike campaign when it meets next week, but hopes have risen in recent weeks that the Fed will pause after next Wednesday’s rate increase.

The Nasdaq gained 20 to 2323, the S&P 500 rose 4 to 1312, and the Dow climbed 38 to 11,438. Volume declined to 2.36 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.11 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 20-12 on the NYSE, and 18-11 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 62% on the NYSE, and 70% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 243-104 on the NYSE, and 245-31 on the Nasdaq.

Applied Films soared on a buyout offer from Applied Materials .

Priceline surged 16% on a solid outlook.

I2 , JDS Uniphase and 24/7 fell on their results.

News Around the Web