The stock markets in the United States rallied on speculations that the Federal Reserve would not be compelled to increase the interest rates due to the slowdown of sales in the retail industry.

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In a telephone interview with Bloomberg, Bruce Bittles, the chief investment strategist at RW Baird & Co commented, “There is some feeling that events overseas are beginning to cool down a little bit, but also the retail numbers might suggest that Fed is not going to be so aggressive in raising rates anytime soon. He emphasized that the retail industry is the backbone of the market over the past five years.

Today, the Department of Commerce reported that retail sales were flat last month from the $439 billion recorded in June. The retail industry’s performance last month was the worst over the past six months. Data from the agency showed that the sales of motor vehicles and parts declined 0.2%.

Excluding the sales results of motor vehicles and parts, the retail sales rose 0.1% in July. Economists were expecting a 0.3% growth in retail sales last month.

During the second quarter, the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) rose 4% on an annual basis. American companies added more than 200,000n jobs, an indication the economic improvement is continuing. Investors speculated that the Federal Reserve might increase the interest rates earlier due to the economic strength.

Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen previously stated that the central bank would maintain its benchmark low for a “considerable time” after its bond-buying program ends.

U.S. Markets

• Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 16,651.80 (+0.55%)
• S&P 500- 1,946.72 (+0.67%)
• NASDAQ- 4,434.13 (+1.02%)
• Russell 2000- 1,141.48 (+0.75%)

European Markets

• EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,056.17 (+1.07%)
• FTSE 100 Index- 6,656.68 (+0.37%)
• Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,198.88 (+1.43%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

• Nikkei 225- 16,213.63 (+0.35%)
• Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 24,890.34 (+0.81%)
• Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,358.90 (+0.08%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) gained more than 2% to $326.28 per share after ChannelAdvisor reported that the rate of sales of the e-commerce giant increased every month this year. Separately, the company launched Local Register, a credit card reader for small businesses. The company is offering its credit card reader for $10, and it would charge an introductory fee of 1.75% of the total transaction for small businesses that would sign up before October 31.

The shares of King Digital Entertainment PLC (NYSE:KING) declined more than 23% to $13.99 per share after the British games developer posted an adjusted revenue that missed the estimates of Wall Street analysts, and indicated that its gross bookings for the third-quarter is expected to decline.

Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE:M) fell more than 5% to $56.47 per share after the company reported second-quarter earnings that fell short of the expectations of Wall Street analysts. The second-largest department store operator in the United States posted earnings of $0.80 per diluted share compared with the consensus estimate of $0.86 per share.