US stocks reversed opening losses Wednesday as investors digested weaker than expected May retail sales numbers and other data giving a mixed picture on the health of the economy.
Traders were expected to be closely following JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon's testimony to Congress to explain how the storied Wall Street investment bank lost at least $2 billion in risky bets. JPMorgan shares rose 1.7 percent on the Dow.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 9.84 points (0.08 percent) to 12,583.64 by 16:40 SA time.
The broad-market S&P 500 rose 1.81 (0.14 percent) to 1,325.99, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite added 6.30 (0.22 percent) to 2,849.37.
Traders appeared cautious in a week of volatile trade as investors react to the latest news from Europe's mounting debt crisis. The main indexes had closed more than 1.0 percent higher Tuesday, rebounding from Monday's losses.
“Optimism spurred yesterday on hopes of additional help for the economy from the Federal Reserve has been curtailed,” said Charles Schwab & Co. analysts.
“Domestic economic data showed that retail sales fell for the second straight month and prices at the wholesale level fell by its largest amount in nearly three years,” they said.
May retail sales fell 0.2 percent from April, and excluding autos were down a heftier 0.4 percent, the Commerce Department reported.
The Labor Department's Producer Price Index showed wholesale prices tumbled 1.0 percent in May.
Dow member Johnson & Johnson rose 1.6 percent. The US drug and health products giant announced it will complete its $19.7 billion acquisition of surgery equipment maker Synthes on Thursday, after obtaining US regulatory approval.
Internet pioneer Yahoo! and US cable news network CNBC on Wednesday launched a new drive to provide more original content both on the Yahoo! Finance website and on the air.
Yahoo! shares fell 0.9 percent and CNBC parent Disney slipped 0.1 percent.
Dell surged 4.5 percent higher after the struggling computer maker announced it will start paying a dividend to investors.
Zynga leaped 3.6 percent. The social media games maker on Tuesday launched its “Draw Something” in China as it moved to get non-English speakers caught up in the craze for the mobile phone game based on representing words with pictures.
Bonds rose slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond slipped to 1.65 percent from 1.66 percent Tuesday, while the 30-year bond declined to 2.76 percent from 2.77 percent.
Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions. - Sapa-AFP