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US Stocks Dip

Monday, May 13 15:53:18

U.S. stocks dipped today, retreating from the most recent record high, but an unexpected rise in retail sales last month muted declines.

The Commerce Department said retail sales edged up 0.1 percent, coming after a 0.5 percent March decline and defying an average forecast by economists polled by Reuters for a drop of 0.3 percent.

Excluding autos, gasoline and building materials, core sales rose 0.5 percent. Retail sales account for about 30 percent of U.S. consumer spending.

The S&P 500 managed its third straight weekly gain last week, reaching a record high on Friday. The benchmark had a five-day streak of record closing highs before settling lower on Thursday.

"Markets and investors are a bit skittish at the levels we are at," said Peter Kenny, managing director at Knight Capital in Jersey City, New Jersey.

"There is not a great deal of confidence in the consumer and that spending, as a result, is going to necessarily support current pricing. But this number is definitely not a cause for concern."

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 32.39 points, or 0.21 percent, to 15,086.10. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index shed 2.89 points, or 0.18 percent, to 1,630.81. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.76 points, or 0.02 percent, to 3,435.82.

Other data showed business inventories were unchanged in March for a second straight month versus expectations of 0.3 percent rise, suggesting restocking could help second-quarter economic growth.

Elan agreed to a $1 billion deal to buy 21 percent of the royalties that U.S. company Theravance receives from GlaxoSmithKline for its respiratory drugs. Theravance shares jumped 14.8 percent to $40.11.

AsiaInfo-Linkage Inc agreed to be acquired by a private investor consortium led by CITIC Capital Partners for $12 per share in cash. AsiaInfo shares edged up 0.09 percent to $11.69.

U.S.-listed shares of Perion Network surged 14 percent to $14.36 after the Israeli consumer Internet company posted first-quarter earnings.

SoftBank Corp has told banks that their financing of Dish Network Corp's $25.5 billion rival offer for Sprint Nextel Corp could hurt their chances of landing a role in a highly anticipated public offering of the Chinese e-commerce giant, two sources familiar with the situation said.

Sprint shares dipped 1.1 percent to $7.28 while Dish lost 0.9 percent to $38.83. ( C) Reuters