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Retail Sales: Wednesday's Headlines

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Here are the top stock market headlines for the morning of Wednesday, July 14, 2010.

Wednesday's Early Headlines

  • Retail Sales Disappoint in June with 0.5% Slide -- Retail sales fell 0.5% last month, according to a report by the Commerce Department, which disappointed economists who had expected a smaller 0.2% decline. It was the second straight month of sliding retail numbers, which raises concerns of a slowing economy. May's decline was revised to a 1.1% drop from a previously reported 1.2% slide. Excluding autos, retail sales were down 0.1% in June after a 1.2% drop in May.
  • Fed Minutes Due Later Wednesday -- At 2 p.m. ET, the Federal Reserve will release minutes from its last meeting in interest rates. Market participants are looking to see if the central bank will cut its economic outlook for the second half of 2010. In addition, investors will watch for comments on what the Fed plans to do if the economy's recovery stalls further. In the statement released June 23, the Fed said "the economic recovery is proceeding and that the labor market is improving gradually," although financial conditions "have become less supportive of economic growth on balance."
  • EU Clears Comcast's Acquisition of NBC Universal -- Comcast (CMCSA) has been cleared by the European Commission for its takeover of General Electric's (GE) NBC Universal division. "The transaction would not significantly impede effective competition," the European regulator said in a statement.
  • EU Clears BA, American, Iberia Deal -- The European Union has cleared the merger between British Airways (BAY) and Iberia, which creates Europe's third largest airline operator. The EU has also cleared a cooperative agreement between British Airways, Iberia and American Airlines (AMR) that allows the airlines to share trans-Atlantic routes. As part of the agreement, the companies will open landing and take off slots at London Heathrow airport available to open competition.
  • Mortgage Applications Fall; Purchases at 13-Year Low -- The Mortgage Bankers Association said its Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, fell a seasonally adjusted 2.9% last week, as purchasing applications fell 3.1% and refinancing activity declined 2.9% from the prior week. The MBA's purchasing index has now fallen to the lowest level observed in the survey since December 1996. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate inched higher to 4.69% last week from 4.68% the previous week, the MBA said.
  • eBay Sued for $3.8 Billion Over PayPal Idea -- eBay (EBAY) is being sued for more than $3.8 billion by XPRT Ventures, a firm that claims the Internet auction company stole its idea for PayPal. XPRT claims eBay infringed on six patents to develop online payment systems. XPRT says it shared those ideas and methods with eBay in confidence

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