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The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was little changed, after its biggest weekly loss in 2012, as a drop in Apple Inc. tempered optimism about a stronger-than-forecast increase in retail sales for the world’s largest economy.
Earlier gains in the S&P 500 were driven by data showing that retail sales gained 0.8 percent in March, almost three times as much as projected. Investors also watched corporate earnings data. Profits per share at S&P 500 companies rose 1.7 percent in the first quarter and will grow 8.6 percent this year, according to analysts’ estimates.
Dow 12,934.77 +85.18 +0.66%, Nasdaq 2,986.96 -24.37 -0.81%, S&P 500 1,369.85 -0.41 -0.03%
Apple, which soared 45 percent in 2012, dropped 3 percent to $587.27 today. Verizon Wireless, a U.S. partner of Apple, said last week that it will begin charging customers $30 to upgrade to a new phone. The move suggests mobile-phone service providers may take other steps, including trimming subsidies, to keep sales of the iPhone from eating into their margins, said Walter Piecyk, an analyst at BTIG LLC in New York.
Gannett slumped 9.1 percent to $13.67. Revenue from the publishing division, the largest unit, decreased 6 percent as advertising and circulation fell. Chief Executive Officer Gracia Martore, who took over in October, is struggling to revive revenue growth as the newspaper industry as a whole continues to lose ad business to Internet companies.
Mattel dropped 8.5 percent to $31.22. Its largest retail partners were cautious on orders and reduced inventories at mid- to high-single-digit percentage rates, Chief Executive Officer Bryan Stockton said. Gross sales of Barbie products, which fell 6 percent globally in the quarter, were particularly affected by the retailers’ inventory restrictions, Stockton said.
Google Inc. slid 2.4 percent to $609.33. The world’s most popular search engine “impeded” and “delayed” a U.S. inquiry into its data collection, according to the latest in a series of regulatory probes of the company’s privacy practices. Google said it wasn’t “found to have violated any laws” in the investigation by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.
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