Stocks Open Lower, JPMorgan Profit Beats

U. S. stock opened lower on Friday after data showed U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell in March. The Dow
Jones Industrial Average lately fell 18.97 points, or 0.13%, to 14,846.17. The S&P 500 lost 4.31 points,
or 0.27%, to 1,589.06. The Nasdaq Composite slid 7.14 points, or 0.22%, to 3,293.02.

Retail sales contracted in March for the second time in three months, a sign the American economy may
have stumbled at the end of the first quarter. Retail sales fell 0.4 percent during the month, the
Commerce Department said on Friday. That was below analysts’ expectations that sales would be flat.

JPMorgan Chase reported quarterly profit that topped analyst expectations and increased its dividend,
but shares dipped as loan growth slowed and net revenue fell. The largest U.S. bank by deposits said it
earned $1.59 a share on revenue of $25.8 billion. JPMorgan said it would raise its dividend to 38 cents
a share from the current 30 cents, and said it repurchased $2.6 billion in common shares as a further
reward for investors while planning to buy another $6 billion over the next 12 months.

The price of oil fell to near $92 a barrel Friday, dragged down by a combination of lukewarm forecasts
for demand and ample supplies. By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for May delivery was down
$1.15 to $92.36 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Troubled J.C. Penney Co Inc (JCP.N) has hired Blackstone Group LP’s (BX.N) financial advisory arm to
explore how best to position the firm financially, three sources said on Thursday, while key investor
William Ackman said shareholders were willing to put up more capital.

The German consumer products conglomerate Joh. A. Benckiser agreed on Friday to buy D.E. Master Blenders  1753, a European coffee company, for 7.5 billion euros, or $9.8 billion.

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