S&P ends slightly lower as rising Treasury yields offset robust retail data

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NEW YORK, Sept 16 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 (.SPX) ended slightly lower on Thursday, paring losses in late trading after unexpectedly strong retail sales data underscored the strength of the U.S. economic recovery.

The three major indexes spent much of the day in negative territory as rising U.S. Treasury yields pressured market-leading tech stocks, and the rising dollar weighed on exporters. read more Inc (AMZN.O), buoyed by solid online sales in the Commerce Department's report, helped push the Nasdaq into positive territory.

"Looking at today, clearly we had positive news from retail sales and it looks as if the massive slowdown in the economy is not materializing as a lot of people expected," said Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"It's a nice reminder that the economy is still taking two steps forward for each step back even amid the COVID concerns," Detrick added.

Economically sensitive transports (.DJT) and microchips (.SOX) were among the outperformers.

Data released before the opening bell showed an unexpected bump in retail sales as shoppers weathered Hurricane Ida and the COVID Delta variant, evidence of resilience in the consumer, who contributes about 70% to U.S. economic growth. read more

"Once again, it shows the U.S. consumer continues to spend and continues to help this economy grow," Detrick added.

Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) fell 62.22 points, or 0.18%, to 34,752.17, the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 6.65 points, or 0.15%, to 4,474.05 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 20.30 points, or 0.13%, to 15,181.83.

Energy stocks tumbled after crude prices retreated from Wednesday's surge as threats to the Gulf of Mexico from Hurricane Nicholas abated. read more

Select companies got a boost from the retail sales report.

Apparel company Gap Inc (GPS.N), online marketplace Etsy Inc (ETSY.O) and luxury accessory company Tapestry Inc (TPR.N) all gained ground.

Ford Motor Co (F.N) advanced after it announced plans to boost production of its F-150 electric pickup model. read more

Reporting by Stephen Culp; Additional reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Chang

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