Stocks little changed ... Retail sales up slightly ... Yellen: economic recovery not yet complete

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks were little changed in early trading today as investors size up corporate earnings and new government data showing that retail sales inched up last month. Earnings from JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs trumped Wall Street's expectations. At 10:35 a.m. Eastern Time, the S&P 500 fell a fraction of a point to 1,977. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 19 points, to 17,072. The Nasdaq composite fell 12 points, to 4,428.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. retail sales increased slightly in June, a sign that consumers remain cautious despite steady job gains this year. The Commerce Department says retail sales rose just 0.2 percent last month, held back by a sharp drop at building materials and garden supply stores. Sales also fell at restaurants and at auto dealers. The figures suggest that Americans are reluctant to spend freely, which could slow growth in the April-June quarter.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says economic recovery is not yet complete, and the Fed intends to keep providing significant support to boost growth and improve labor market conditions. In delivering an economic report to Congress, Yellen says if labor market conditions continue to improve more quickly than anticipated, the Fed could raise its key short-term interest rate sooner than currently projected. Yellen says current monthly bond purchases will likely end in October.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. companies restocked their store shelves and warehouses at a steady pace in May, a sign they expect sales will remain solid in the months ahead. The Commerce Department says business stockpiles rose 0.5 percent in May, down slightly from a 0.6 percent gain in the previous month. April's increase was the highest in six months. Total business sales rose 0.4 percent, much lower than April's 0.8 percent gain.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Cigarette maker Reynolds American is planning to buy rival Lorillard for about $25 billion in a deal to combine two of the nation's oldest and biggest tobacco companies. The deal would create a formidable No. 2 to rival Altria Group, owner of Philip Morris USA, and will likely face scrutiny from regulators. Reynolds markets Camel, Pall Mall and Natural American Spirit cigarettes. Lorillard sells Newport, Maverick and Kent cigarettes.

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