Stocks Opened Lower after Retail Sales

U.S. stocks were modestly lower on Friday as investors took in monthly retail sales data that were largely in line with expectations.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately dropped 53.40 points, or 0.31%, to 16,995.60.  The S&P 500 was down 6.07 points, or 0.30%, to 1,991.38.  The Nasdaq Composite lost 13.13 points, or 0.29%, to 4,578.68.

Sales at retailers climbed in August at the fastest pace in four months and prior readings were revised up, boosting prospects for U.S. economic growth this quarter. The 0.6 percent gain matched the median forecast of 82 economists surveyed by Bloomberg and followed a 0.3 percent increase the prior month that was stronger than previously reported, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington.

Sprint (S) for the first time ever will give customers looking to buy the new iPhone an exclusive no-contract plan. The new “iPhone for life” plan, announced on Friday, allows customers to get the latest-generation Apple AAPL, -0.24% phone for $20 a month and the iPhone 6 Plus for $25, both in 24 monthly installments.

U.S. retail sales were solid in August and were revised higher for the past two months, Commerce Department data released Friday revealed, bolstering expectations of above-trend economic growth in the second half of the year. The gain of 0.6% in August was the strongest since the same growth in April.

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