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Stocks lower...Retail sales gain...Jobless claims up slightly...Stockpiles growing

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are lower in morning trading. Investors aren't finding much encouragement in this morning's economic data, including government reports that show retail sales rose less than forecast last month and more Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. The Dow, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were all lower in the first hour of trading.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Retail sales rose for a fourth straight month in May, but the gain was slightly below economists' forecasts. The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose 0.3 percent in May, helped by a surge in demand for autos. A drop in sales during the winter months caused the economy to shrink in the first quarter. But the revival in consumer spending has economists predicting a solid rebound to 3 percent growth or better in the current quarter.

WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, but claims remain near pre-recession levels. The Labor Department says weekly applications for jobless aid rose 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 317,000. The four-week average increased to a little more than 315,000.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses increased their stockpiles in April by the largest amount in six months. The Commerce Department says stockpiles rose 0.6 percent. That's the 11th consecutive increase and the biggest advance since last October. Analysts see growing inventories as a sign that businesses are optimistic about future demand.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mortgage rates are again edging higher. Freddie Mac says the average rate for a 30-year loan increased to 4.20 percent, while the average for the 15-year mortgage rose to 3.31. Mortgage rates are about a quarter of a percentage point higher than they were at the same time last year but are still close to historic lows.

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The Associated Press


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