* Citigroup earnings top analyst estimate
* Nasdaq falls sharply on Apple, Mattel
* U.S. March retail sales higher
* Indexes: Dow up 0.5 pct, S&P up 0.04 pct, Nasdaq off 0.5
By Edward Krudy
NEW YORK, April 16 Better-than-expected U.S.
retail sales in March were unable to sustain an early rally on
Wall Street as stocks struggled to come off their worst two-week
period in more than four months, with a march higher in Spanish
bond yields continuing to undermine confidence.
The Nasdaq fell sharply, weighed down by a near 3-percent
drop in Apple Inc. A fall in sales at Mattel Inc
and a decline in Google Inc shares ahead of a
high stakes legal battle with Oracle Corp also hurt the Nasdaq.
Spanish 10-year government bond yields broke through the
6-percent mark on Monday for the first time since the beginning
of December. Spain has acknowledged that it has probably tipped
into its second recession since 2009.
"Europe is back. All this talk about Spain is unsettling for
the market," said Frank Lesh, a futures analyst and broker at
FuturePath Trading LLC in Chicago.
Stocks initially bounced sharply at the open after U.S.
retail sales rose more than expected in March, indicating
economic growth in the first quarter did not soften as much as
many had feared.
Gains for International Business Machines Corp and
Caterpillar Inc helped shield the Dow, as the
high-priced stocks provided an outsized boost for the
price-weighted index. IBM gained 0.6 percent to $203.97, and
Caterpillar rose 1.3 percent to $107.26.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 68.46 points,
or 0.53 percent, at 12,918.05. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 0.56 points, or 0.04 percent, at 1,370.82. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was down 15.73 points, or 0.52
percent, at 2,995.60.
Before Monday's open the S&P 500 index had dropped 2.7
percent over the prior two weeks, its worst two-week slide since
November, on increasing concerns about the euro-zone debt crisis
and weaker-than-expected U.S. economic data.
Citigroup Inc advanced 2.5 percent to $34.21 after
posting a first-quarter profit that topped Wall Street
expectations. The KBW Bank index climbed 0.6 percent.
The economic picture was not entirely upbeat as the New York
Federal Reserve said the pace of manufacturing growth in New
York state slowed sharply in April to its lowest level in five
Earnings season will pick up steam this week, with 86 S&P
500 companies scheduled to report results. According to Thomson
Reuters data through Monday, of the 34 S&P 500 companies to have
reported earnings so far, 76 percent have reported earnings
above analyst expectations.
Mattel's quarterly profit fell short of analysts'
expectations as price increases hurt sales of its iconic Barbie
dolls and Hot Wheels cars, sending the world's largest toy
company's shares down 7.5 percent to $31.56.
Baxter International Inc dipped 6 percent to $54.54
and Halozyme Therapeutics Inc plunged 27 percent to
$8.23 after the companies said U.S. health regulators requested
more data to complete their review of HyQ Biologics.
Jury selection began on Monday in a high-stakes dispute over
smartphone technology between Oracle and Google,
kicking off a trial in which chief executives of both companies
are expected to take the stand. Oracle added 0.1 percent to
$28.46 and Google slipped 2.5 percent to $608.87.