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Stock market today: Wall Street slips ahead of a big week in retail, US Steel soars

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street is slipping in early trading ahead of a week of reports showing how strong U.S. shoppers remain, amid hopes their spending can keep the economy out of a recession. The S&P 500 was 0.2% lower in the early going Monday, the latest step back in August’s lull following what had been a gangbusters year so far. The Dow edged down 25 points and the Nasdaq composite was off 0.4%. U.S. Steel jumped 25% after saying over the weekend that it rejected a buyout offer from Cleveland-Cliffs and that it’s heard multiple offers. Trading was relatively quiet otherwise.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

Wall Street inched toward small gains before the opening bell ahead of a raft of data this week that may provide more insight into the health of U.S. retailers.

Futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ticked up a little more than 0.1% Monday.

The government on Tuesday will release its retail sales report for July, while Home Depot, Target, TJX Cos. and Walmart will post their most recent quarterly results this week.

Retail spending has been a bit bumpy through the first half of the year after surging nearly 3% in January. Analysts forecast that spending rose 0.4% from June to July after a modest 0.2% increase in June.

Economists believe that the turbulence in consumer spending has been caused in part by persistent inflation, which has come down closer to the Federal Reserve’s 2% target in recent months, but remains the U.S. economy’s biggest concern. The Fed has raised its benchmark lending rate a whopping 11 times in the past 17 months in an effort to corral the worst inflation since the 1980s.

Wall Street lost ground Friday after government data showed producer price inflation accelerated in July. Earlier data showed consumer prices also rose faster in July.

“Setbacks to optimistic expectations are hard to ignore,” said Tan Boon Heng of Mizuho Bank in a report. “The data need to provide reasons (for the Federal Reserve) not to hike.”

The Labor Department reported Friday that its producer price index rose 0.8% over a year earlier, accelerating from June’s 0.2% rate. On Thursday, Labor released consumer inflation data, which showed prices accelerating to 3.2% in July from the previous month’s 3%.

That dimmed hopes somewhat that the Fed will ease of its string of rate hikes to cool the economy, and inflation.

The majority of Wall Street traders still bet the central bank will make no change to the fed funds rate at its September meeting, according to data from CME Group. Such hopes helped the S&P 500 rally 19.5% in the first seven months of this year.

Yet that is seen my many as too optimistic.

Fed officials say rate decisions will depend on hiring, inflation and other data.

In premarket equities trading, United States Steel Corp. shot up 27% after the Pittsburgh company said Sunday that it rejected a $7.3 billion buyout proposal from rival Cleveland-Cliffs.

U.S. Steel said it turned down the offer because Cleveland-Cliffs was pushing it to accept the terms without being allowed to conduct proper due diligence. U.S. Steel said it is reviewing “strategic alternatives” after receiving several unsolicited offers.

At midday in Europe, the FTSE 100 in London lost 0.5%, the CAC 40 in Paris advanced 0.1% and the DAX in Frankfurt gained 0.3%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.3% to 3,178.42 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 1.3% to 32,059.91. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong sank 1.6% to 18,773.55.

The Kospi in South Korea retreated 0.8% to 2,570.87 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was 0.9% lower at 7,277.00.

India’s Sensex lost less than 0.1% to 65,283.59. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets also declined.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 44 cents to $82.75 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 37 cents on Friday to $83.19. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, fell 39 cents to $86.42 per barrel in London. It advanced 41 cents on Friday to $86.81 a barrel.

The dollar rose to 145.12 yen from Friday’s 144.97 yen. The euro declined to $1.0940 from $1.0951.

On Friday, the S&P 500 lost 0.1%, the Nasdaq composite fell 0.7% and the Dow gained 0.3%.


McDonald reported from Beijing; Ott reported from Silver Spring, Md.

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