US stocks were little changed in choppy early trading on Wednesday after data from China appeared to make a case for further stimulus measures from Beijing, while investors braced for a possible hike in U.S. interest rates next month.
Industrial production in China grew at its slowest pace in seven months in October, in another sign of deflationary pressure in the world’s second-largest economy.
However, retail sales for the same month expanded more than expected as consumer sentiment remained strong.
E-commerce giant Alibaba provided further evidence that the Chinese consumer remains upbeat, reporting record sales in its Singles’ Day shopping event, but U.S. retail stocks fell after a disappointing results from Macy’s.
Macy’s shares fell 10.4 percent to $42.14 after it reported a 3.6 percent decline in quarterly same-store sales. Analysts had expected a rise.
Other retailers also fell, including JC Penney which dropped 2 percent to $8.51 despite reporting a 6.4 percent rise in same-store sales. Nordstrom and Kohl’s dropped more than 4 percent.
Alibaba, whose shares were up 0.5 percent at $81.85, said sales in its Singles’ Day online shopping festival had crossed last year’s record of $9.3 billion after just 12 hours.
At 9:54 a.m. ET (1454 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 21.24 points, or 0.12 percent, at 17,779.45, the S&P 500 was up 2.61 points, or 0.13 percent, at 2,084.33 and the Nasdaq composite index was up 3.20 points, or 0.06 percent, at 5,086.45.
Six of the 10 major S&P sectors were higher, with the interest-rate sensitive utilities sector’s 0.57 percent rise leading advancers.
U.S. bond markets are closed on Wednesday for Veteran’s Day.
“Volumes will likely be muted and the overall disposition of the market will be somewhat muted as well, taking cues from some of the overseas markets,” said Eric Wiegand, senior portfolio manager at the Private Client Reserve at U.S. Bank in New York.
Apache Corp fell 4.6 percent to $50.81 after Anadarko Petroleum confirmed its offer to buy the company had been rejected.
Anadarko was up 1.4 percent at $64.30.
Horizon Pharma slumped 14.8 percent to $19.05 after prescription drug plan manager Express Scripts removed a pharmacy connected to Horizon from its network.
Boston Scientific fell 3.3 percent to $18.18 after the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed limited reimbursement coverage for a key heart device.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,520 to 1,149. On the Nasdaq, 1,123 issues rose and 1,071 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed eight new 52-week highs and three new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 55 new highs and 37 new lows.