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Stocks - Wall Street Edges up After Retail Sales Boost

Investing.com - Stocks started the day slightly higher Thursday in what is expected to be a slow day of trading ahead of the three-day weekend.

The S&P 500 rose 0.1%, while the Dow gained 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.1%.

Volume may be unusually low at the opening bell today with many traders watching the press conference from Attorney General William Barr on the release of the Mueller report.

Sentiment received a boost ahead of trading when March retail sales numbers came in much stronger than expected. Retail sales rose 1.6% last month, well ahead of the 0.9% forecast, while core sales excluding autos rose 1.2%.

That was tempered somewhat by the Philly Fed manufacturing index falling more than anticipated for April.

Big-name earnings also helped, with Honeywell (NYSE:HON) rising 2.8% after raising its full-year forecast and insurance giant The Travelers (NYSE:TRV) rising 2.8% as profit topped forecasts on revenue about in line with expectations.

American Express (NYSE:AXP) rose 0.4% after beating on profit, but disappointing on the top line.

Also among active stocks, cannabis company Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC) surged 8% after it agreed to buy U.S. pot company Acreage Holdings for $300 million (as soon as cannabis because legal in the U.S.).

And Pinterest (NYSE:PINS) and Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:ZM) will debut on Wall Street today after raising more than anticipated with their IPOs. The companies both priced shares above the expected range after the bell Wednesday.

Meanwhile on trade, Washington and Beijing set a tentative timeline for a fresh round of face-to-face meetings ahead of a possible signing ceremony in late May or early June, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

-- Reuters contributed to this report.

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