Aug 14 - Summary of business headlines: The Dow climbs on first jump in retail sales in four months but stocks reverse gains as some re-think QE3; Home Depot, TJX lift outlooks; Saks posts smaller loss; Standard Chartered settles. Conway G. Gittens reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Wall Street runs out of gas, reversing early gains, as shoppers run out to the malls. The Dow squeezed out only a two-point gain, but the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were not as fortunate. Why the selling? The market is up about 12 percent this year, with the latest gains fueled by hopes the Federal Reserve will provide more stimulus. But with retail sales up for the first time in four months and sales gains across the board, the economy may not need the help, says Guy Faucher of PNC Financial Services. SOUNDBITE: GUY FAUCHER, SENIOR ECONOMIST, PNC FINANCIAL SERVICES GROUP (ENGLISH) SAYING: "This reduces some of those concerns that people have had about the economy falling back into recession. There is room for the Fed to act if they do decide to act. Some of the Fed members have indicated that they want to have another round of quantitative easing, but some are reluctant to do so, and I think this gives a little more ammunition to the people who are weighing on the side of caution and would like the Fed to hold off for now." Earnings from the retail sector added to signs the mighty U.S. consumer is making a comeback. Home Depot raised its fiscal year forecast with a sales gain just slightly below the consensus. Analysts say the home improvement retailer is getting a bounce from a rebound in the housing market. TJX, the parent of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, also raised its outlook for the year as customers look for trendy items without the trendy price. Saks, at the high end, had to discount less, meaning its quarterly loss was smaller than predicted and sales were up 5 percent. Outside of retail, the big story was the settlement between Standard Chartered and the New York Department of Financial Services. The UK bank agreed to pay $340 million to settle allegations it hid $250 billion worth of transactions with Iran. Standard Chartered called the agreement "pragmatic." News of the deal came too late to further boost European shares, which closed higher. Conway Gittens, Reuters