Wall St posts modest gains

United States markets edge upward to hit fresh closing highs despite weaker June retail sales data.

United States stocks closed modestly higher after last week's strong gains as a disappointing June retail sales report kept buyers cautious.

Markets were initially mixed and flat as stocks stalled in the wake of fresh records for the Dow and S&P during last week's trading. But later in the session, US stocks managed to rise modestly into positive territory, allowing both the Dow and the S&P to add modestly to the latest records set on Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 19.96 points, or 0.13%, to close at 15,484.26 points.

The broader S&P 500 inched up 2.31 points, or 0.14%, to 1,682.50 points.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite rose 7.41 points, or 0.21%, to close at 3,607.49 points.

A slower-than-expected pace of growth for retail sales in June reinforced worries that the second quarter's economic lull could continue into the third.

Retails sales grew 0.4% month-on-month, with the gains largely dependent on strong auto sales, while other sectors slumped.

Citigroup's reported strong second-quarter earnings, as net earnings gained 42% from a year earlier and 10% from the previous quarter, with earnings per share coming in at $1.34.

Boeing eased worries over a fire in an empty 787 Dreamliner parked at London's Heathrow airport last week. The shares had fallen sharply on Friday amid speculation the Ethiopian Airlines plane had experienced a battery problem of the type that forced the global grounding of 787s in service for three months.

But investigators said over the weekend that there was no evidence to suggest the fire was caused by the next-generation jet's batteries.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury bond fell to 2.56% from 2.60% late on Friday, while the 30-year yield dropped to 3.61% from 3.65%. Bond prices and yields move inversely.