US STOCKS-Wall St climbs after initial claims, retail sales
* Latest China data points to slowing economy
* Ukraine tensions continue, Merkel warns Russia
* Initial claims fall, retail sales tops estimate
* Indexes up: Dow 0.2 pct, S&P 0.13 pct, Nasdaq 0.11 pct
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, March 13 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged higher on Thursday, putting the S&P 500 on track for a second day of gains, following better-than-expected data on retail sales and the labor market, though worries about Ukraine and the health of China's economy curbed the advance.
Weekly initial jobless claims fell 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 315,000, marking a fresh three-month low and better than a forecast for 330,000 new claims.
Retail sales for February rose 0.3 percent, slightly more than the 0.2 percent estimated and ended two straight months of declines, although the prior month was revised lower.
In addition, import prices increased 0.9 percent last month, the biggest rise since February last year, with little sign of a broad pick-up in imported inflation. Continuación...