Stocks Rebound on Retail Sales

U.S. stocks started higher on Tuesday after a government report showed U.S. retail sales rebounding last month and after a better-than-anticipated report on German economic growth. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 33.53 points, or 0.25%, to 13,202.96. The S&P 500 gained 3.98 points, or 0.28%, to 1,408.09. The Nasdaq Composite added 7.27 points to 3,029.79.

After three straight monthly declines, sales at U.S. retailers increased 0.8% in July to a seasonally adjusted $403.9 billion, the Commerce Department estimated Tuesday. Compared with July 2011, sales are up 4.1%.

Inventories at U.S. businesses rose 0.1% in June compared with a 0.3% rise in May, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The gain was roughly in line with economist’s forecasts.

Better sales in the U.S. and healthy demand for its mainstay home-improvement products helped Home Depot’s net income rise 13 percent in its fiscal second quarter. For the quarter that ended July 29, Home Depot Inc. earned $1.53 billion, or $1.01 per share. A year earlier it earned $1.36 billion, or 87 cents per share. Revenue climbed to $20.57 billion from $20.23 billion, up 2 percent.

Saks Inc. saw its loss widen in the second quarter from a year ago, as results were dragged down by charges related to closing stores and opening a fulfillment center in Tennessee. But the luxury department store chain reiterated its sales forecast for the second half of the year, underscoring how wealthy shoppers are proving to be resilient in a yo-yo economy. The New York company said Tuesday it lost $12.3 million, or 8 cents per share, for the three-month period ended July 28. That compares with $8.37 million, or 5 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding charges, Saks lost 5 cents per share in the latest quarter. Revenue rose 5 percent to $704.1 million.

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