U.S. stocks ended higher on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average returning to positive territory for the year, as surging biotech shares helped investors shrug off disappointing retail sales data.
Retail stocks capped the market’s gains after Commerce Department data showed that U.S. retail sales unexpectedly stalled in July, marking the weakest report since January. Macy’s Inc reported quarterly earnings that missed analysts’ estimates and slashed its full-year same-store sales forecast, driving the stock down 5.5 percent to $56.47.
The selloff in Macy’s stock, a bellwether for department stores, gave investors a reason to unload some shares of Kohl’s Corp, down 1.5 percent at $55.11; Nordstrom Inc, down 0.9 percent at $68.12, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc, down 0.3 percent at $74.03. All are expected to report results on Thursday.