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U.S. stocks close mixed amid retail sales tumble, strong tech-related stocks-Feb 14

U.S. stocks ended mixed on Thursday, as tech-related stocks' strong performance offset part of the negative impact caused by the unexpected biggest fall of U.S. retail sales in December 2018 in nine years.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 103.88 points, or 0.41 percent, to 25, 439.39. The S&P 500 was down 7.30 points, or 0.27 percent, to 2,745.73. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 6.58 points, or 0.09 percent, to 7,426.95.

Shares of Cisco rose nearly 2 percent, after the U.S. tech giant reported quarterly profit and revenue that exceeded analysts' estimates.

Shares of Google's parent Alphabet gained 0.05 percent, after U.S. investment bank Citigroup rated the company as its top pick in the latest ranking of U.S. internet companies.

Shares of U.S. internet entertainment service company Netflix also rose over 2 percent.

However, shares of Amazon fell over 1 percent, after the U.S. e-commerce giant announced it decided not to move forward with plans to build a headquarters in New York City, due to fierce local opposition.

Six of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors extended losses, with the consumer staples sector down over 1.2 percent, leading the laggards.

Lael Brainard, a member of the Fed's Board of Governors, said Thursday in an interview with CNBC that she was concerned about the U.S. economy due to increasing "downside risks".

"Downside risks have definitely increased relative to that modal outlook for continued solid growth," said the central bank policymaker.

On the economic front, U.S. retail sales plunged 1.2 percent in December last year, marking the largest decline since September 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau said on Thursday.

The data has been widely regarded as an indication of a marked slowdown in both consumer spending and economic activity by the end of 2018.

The statistics was released in a report postponed by the U.S. government shutdown which lasted 35 days, the longest one in U.S. history.

U.S. jobless claims, or the number of people applying for unemployment benefits, rose by 4,000 to 239,000 last week, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

The four-week average of the claims also increased to 231,750, the highest level since January 2018. Yet the growth still indicates low levels for the U.S. job market, as the jobless claims are normally used to gauge unemployment rate.

(www.chinaview.cn 2019-02-15)