US STOCKS-Wall St flat as retail sales data allay spending fears

viernes 13 de mayo de 2016 10:03 GYT

* April retail sales rise 1.3 pct vs. est. 0.8 pct rise

* Nordstrom, J.C. Penney lower after fall in sales

* Apple bounces back after 2-year low on Thursday

* Indexes up: Dow 0.03 pct, S&P 0.08 pct, Nasdaq 0.29 pct (Updates to open)

By Tanya Agrawal

May 13 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were struggling for direction on Friday morning as a drop in consumer stocks after another set of weak retail reports was offset by a bounce in Apple shares and strong retails sales data that suggested the economy recovery was gaining traction.

The U.S. Commerce Department said retail sales jumped 1.3 percent last month, the largest gain since March 2015 and a bigger rise than the 0.8 percent economists were expecting.

"The numbers came in much stronger than we expected and that will help alleviate the market's concerns over retail. The number also puts the rate hike back on the table," said Peter Cardillo chief market economist at First Standard Financial.

Two U.S. Federal Reserve officials said on Thursday that the central bank should raise rates if data points to an improving economy. Traders are pricing in only rate hike this year.   Continuación...