Stocks rose slightly today as retail woes were somewhat offset by August home sales that outperformed expectations, MarketWatch reports. Led by Microsoft, which rode the release of “Halo 3” to a 1.5% jump, the Dow climbed 19.59 to 13,778.65. The S&P dipped 0.52 to 1,517.21, and the Nasdaq closed at 2,683.45, up 15.50.
Home Depot dropped 2.4% and Wal-Mart fell 2.0%. Investors continued to wonder whether the Fed would cut rates again, even as a drop in forecasts for Target and Lowe's spelled new danger. One strategist was particularly surprised by the bad reports from the retailers: It “ignites one of our biggest fears, which is the slowdown of consumer spending."