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US stocks close mostly lower as market loses steam

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed mostly lower Tuesday after trading slightly higher for much of the day.

Earlier, investors were energized by a surprise gain in retail sales in July. That report provided evidence that American shoppers are still spending even as their counterparts in Europe and Asia slow down. U.S. retail sales rose in July by the largest amount in five months.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 2.71 points at 13,172.14. It was up as much as 53 points at midday. The broader S&P 500 index lost 0.18 point to 1,403.93 and the Nasdaq composite index fell 5.54 points to 3,016.98.

Investors sold low-risk assets, sending the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note up to 1.73 percent from 1.66 percent late Monday.

Stocks were held back by reports that U.S. companies barely increased their inventories in June. The slower restocking trend could act as a drag on overall economic growth. When businesses place fewer orders, factory production slows.

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