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Stocks End Mixed on Signs of Slowing Recovery

Stocks finish mixed as U.S. retail sales rise less than forecast while the U.S. and China postpone weekend trade talks.

Stocks ended mixed Friday after U.S. retail sales in July rose less than forecast and the U.S. and China postponed weekend talks to discuss the trade deal between the world's two largest economies. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 34 points, or 0.12%, to 27,931, the S&P 500 was off 0.02% and the Nasdaq was down 0.21%.

The U.S. and China postponed talks planned for over the weekend that had been aimed at reviewing progress at the six-month mark of their phase-one trade agreement, Bloomberg reported.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He was supposed to hold a videoconference call with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin but it’s been postponed indefinitely, Bloomberg said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Meanwhile, weaker-than-expected economic data from China, which included a surprise decline in retail sales for July, added to the cautious trading.

Retail sales in July increased 1.2% after jumping a revised 8.4% in June. Economists had expected sales in July to advance 1.9%.

Excluding autos and gasoline, retail sales rose 1.5%, ahead of estimates.

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Though the increase in retail sales was lower than it was in the previous two months, the data show "there is a willingness and a desire to spend,” according to Michelle Meyer, chief U.S. economist at Bank of America. 

“There is no doubt the recovery in consumer spending has been robust,” Meyer added.

Consumer sentiment for August edged higher to 72.8 from 72.5 but remained weak and near coronavirus pandemic lows seen in April.

In addition, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Democratic lawmakers and the White House remain "miles apart" in their stimulus talks. Senate lawmakers followed House Democrats in adjourning for the summer break.

President Donald Trump on Friday tweeted that he has directed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to prepare to send more stimulus checks and blamed Democrats for holding up the payment.

McKesson  (MCK) - Get McKesson Corporation (MCK) Report shares climbed 4.2% after the health-care supplier said it and the U.S. government would partner to distribute whichever coronavirus vaccine is approved.

DraftKings DKNG, the sports-betting operator, reported a wider-than-expected second-quarter loss but beat Wall Street's revenue expectations. The stock finished down 6%.

While several major sports leagues remained on hiatus at the beginning of the quarter because of the coronavirus pandemic, the company said it "worked creatively to engage fans with new fantasy sports and betting products for Nascar, golf, Ultimate Fighting Championship, and European soccer."