62° Good Morning
62° Good Morning

Stocks head for four-day winning streak

Traders work on the floor of the New

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the start of the trading day on Wall Street on July 13, 2015. Credit: EPA / Andrew Gombert

Stocks posted for their first four-day winning streak since January, as semiconductor and biotechnology shares rallied while weaker-than-expected retail sales spurred speculation on timing for higher interest rates.

At the markets' close on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 75.9 points, about 0.4 percent, to 18,053.6. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 9.4 points, about 0.5 percent, to nearly 2,109. The Nasdaq composite added 33.4 points, about 0.7 percent, to nearly 5,105.

ENERGY: Shortly after the markets closed, the price of benchmark U.S. crude oil was up 72 cent at $52.92 a barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

WHERE ARE THE SHOPPERS? Americans cut spending at stores and restaurants last month, a sign that they remain cautious despite robust job growth in the past year. Retail sales fell 0.3 percent in June, the weakest showing since February, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. That followed a robust 1 percent jump in May. The dip caused an analyst to speculate about when Federal Reserve policymakers would raise interest rates.

"I was a little disappointed with the retail sales numbers toda . . ., so I was a little surprised by the rally," said analyst Mark Kepner, an equity trader at Chatham, New Jersey-based Themis Trading. "Maybe the drumbeat of the September rate rise is something that may get pushed back to later in the year. Going forward it's going to take earnings to push us higher.

IN THE CHIPS? Micron Technology jumped 9 percent on reports that a Chinese company is preparing a $23 billion bid for the chip maker in what would be China's largest takeover of a U.S. company. Some media reports said that Tsinghua Unigroup Ltd. would bid $21 per Micron share, and that an offer could come this week. Micron gained $1.60 to $19.21.

EARNINGS WATCH: U.S. bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Johnson & Johnson both reported second-quarter earnings that were stronger than expected. Bank of America and Google are due to report later in the week. Analysts expect earnings at companies in the S&P 500 index to fall 4.5 percent compared with the prior year, according to S&P Capital IQ. That would be the first drop in earnings since 2009.

BACK TO SCHOOL: Loan servicing company Navient cut its earnings forecast because of weakened credit trends on some student loans and a drop in loans that are coming out of deferment compared with previous years. Its stock plunged $1.79, or 10 percent, to $16.57.

GREECE RESPITE: Greece struck a preliminary rescue deal with other European Union governments Monday that should avert an imminent financial collapse but guarantees years more hardship for its people. The deal removes the immediate threat Greece would default on its debts and leave the euro. But in exchange for a three-year loan program, the Greek prime minister has to persuade skeptical legislators to pass tax increases and other key demands into law by Wednesday.

CHINA'S WOBBLE: The main Chinese index rose lost 1.2 percent after rising for three sessions through Monday. The government has been trying to halt a slide that saw the Shanghai Composite Index lose as much as 30 percent during the past month. State-owned brokerages and government pension funds have pledged to buy stocks, and executives and big shareholders are barred from selling. Hundreds of companies have suspended trading in their shares. Analysts say it is unclear whether the market can hold up once temporary barriers to selling are relaxed.

Reports from Bloomberg News and The Associated Press were used in this story.


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

More news