Stocks open mixed after pickup in retail sales

AP News
Posted: Mar 13, 2013 9:47 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are mixed in early trading on Wall Street after the government reported that U.S. retail sales rose at the fastest pace in five months.

The Dow Jones industrial average was moving between small gains and losses in the early going. Ten minutes after the opening bell it was down 21 points at 14,427.

The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index fell three points to 1,549. The Nasdaq composite was off six points at 3,235.

The Commerce Department reported that Americans spent 1.1 percent more in stores last month than they did in January, even with the double hit of higher taxes and gasoline prices.

Economists had predicted a more modest increase of 0.2 percent.

Wal-Mart Stores was the biggest gainer in the Dow average.

Overseas markets were mixed.