Stocks Edged Higher At The Start

U.S. stocks edged higher at the start on Tuesday as government data showed that consumers spent slightly more in April as prices remained flat.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 4.96 points, or 0.04%, to 12,700.31. The S&P 500 climbed 0.11 point, or 0.01%, to 1,338.46. The Nasdaq Composite rose 4.95 points, or 0.17%, to 2,907.53.

The Commerce Department says retail sales rose 0.1 percent April. Retail spending had risen 0.7 percent in March and 1 percent in February.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that the seasonally adjusted consumer price index was unchanged in April, after a 0.3 percent gain in March. Excluding volatile food and gas costs, so-called “core” prices rose 0.2 percent. That was the same as in March.

Europe dodged a bullet Tuesday after the economy of the 17 countries that use the euro narrowly avoided a recession in the first quarter of the year despite a raging debt crisis that’s raising the specter of the breakup of the currency union.

Home Depot Inc (HD) reported weaker-than-expected quarterly sales on Tuesday after demand slowed in April following a jump in home improvement projects spurred by warm weather earlier in the year. Sales at Home Depot rose 5.9 percent to $17.81 billion in the first quarter ended on April 29, but missed the analysts’ average estimate of $17.96 billion.

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