Stocks mixed after disappointing retail sales data

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By Stephen Bernard

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks mostly fell Wednesday after a disappointing retail sales report chilled optimism from Intel's strong earnings and outlook.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 15 points, putting its six-day winning streak in jeopardy. But the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite rose thanks to chipmaker Intel Corp.'s results.

Shoppers cut back on spending for the second straight month. The Commerce Department said June retail sales fell 0.5 percent. That's worse than the 0.2 percent decline forecast by economists polled by Thomson Reuters. However, excluding autos, sales were down 0.1 percent, in line with expectations.

Shares of retails, including J.C. Penney Co., Macy's Inc. and Target Corp., all fell after the monthly sales report.

Retail sales are critical to the economic recovery because shoppers account for about 70 percent of the nation's economic activity. High unemployment has kept customers out of stores and could hold retailers' earnings in check.

The weak sales report added to the mixed signals on the pace of a recovery. Economic reports have largely showed a rebound is slowing, but recent earnings have largely topped expectations. And companies have been optimistic in their outlooks for growth during the second half of the year.

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