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U.S. stock futures little changed as retail sales fall short

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(Bloomberg) — U.S. stock futures were little changed, after benchmark indexes climbed to records yesterday, amid data that showed retail sales rose less than forecast in April.

DirecTV jumped 3.6 percent after people familiar with the matter said AT&T Inc. has held advanced talks to acquire the company for about $50 billion. Keurig Green Mountain Inc. added 5.2 percent after Coca-Cola Co. boosted its stake in the company. Elizabeth Arden Inc. tumbled 19 percent after the maker of Elizabeth Taylor and Britney Spears-branded perfumes reported quarterly revenue that missed analysts’ estimates.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring next month rose 0.1 percent to 1,894.8 at 8:33 a.m. in New York. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts increased 20 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,675 today.

“The market will look for further proof of re-acceleration in the economy,” said Manish Singh, who helps manage $2 billion as head of investments at Crossbridge Capital LLP in London. “If it’s there, as it seems now, the market will look northwards. I see this market finally breaking out into the 1,900 range.”

Retail sales climbed 0.1 percent last month after a revised 1.5 percent surge in March that was the biggest since March 2010, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 83 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.4 percent advance.

Consumers were less inclined to ramp up spending again after March saw a release of pent-up demand caused by harsh winter weather.

Macy’s Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kohl’s Corp. are among 12 companies in the S&P 500 scheduled to disclose results this week, giving investors insight into how retailers performed during the winter months.

About 76 percent of the 454 S&P 500 companies that have released results this earnings season have beaten estimates for profit, while 53 percent have exceeded revenue projections, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

U.S. stocks climbed yesterday, with the S&P 500 closing at a record 1,896.65, as Internet and small-cap shares rallied. The Dow Jones Internet Index had its best day since January, as all 41 members advanced. The Nasdaq Composite Index also rose the most since January, adding 1.8 percent to trim its loss for the year to 0.8 percent. While the technology-heavy gauge has recovered 3.6 percent from its April low, it remains 4.9 percent below a 13- year high in March.

DirecTV rose 3.6 percent to $90.30. AT&T will allow the company’s existing management to continue running the business if it succeeds in acquiring the largest satellite-TV broadcaster in the U.S., according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because the information remains private. The parties have discussed a $100-per-share offer that would value DirecTV at about $50 billion.

McKesson Corp. advanced 3.4 percent to $180.15. The largest U.S. drug wholesaler said adjusted earnings per share amounted to $2.55 in the fourth quarter of its financial year, more than the $2.39 that analysts had projected. Revenue in the three months through March totaled $38.1 billion, beating the $35.9 billion average estimate.

Keurig Green Mountain climbed 5.2 percent to $116.42. Coca-Cola increased its stake in the maker of household coffee machines to 16 percent, three months after acquiring a 10 percent holding. Coca-Cola’s wholly owned subsidiary Atlantic Industries now owns 19.5 million shares in Keurig, according to a regulatory filing.

Elizabeth Arden plunged 19 percent to $28.82. Sales in the third quarter slid 20 percent to $210.8 million, lower than the $255.7 million that analysts had predicted. Elizabeth Arden also said that it has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to explore strategic alternatives for the business.

See also:

As clients age, stock up on stocks

Investors increasing allocations of alternative assets

The glide path debate considered



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