US STOCKS-Wall St edges higher after ECB statement, retail sales data

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* U.S. retail sales in May beat expectations

* Comcast jumps after making $65 bln offer for Fox

* Indexes: Dow down 0.03 pct, S&P up 0.27 pct, Nasdaq up0.82 pct (Changes comments, add details, updates prices)

June 14 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks ticked higher on Thursdayafter the European Central Bank promised not to raise euro zoneinterest rates before the middle of next year and onbetter-than-expected May retail sales.

The bank's statement came as a relief to investors,especially after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised rates for thesecond time this year on Wednesday and hinted at two more hikesby the end of 2018.

ECB, however, said it would wind down its 2.55 trillion eurostimulus program by the close of the year. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N1TG0UZ

Shares of banks, which rely on higher interest rates toboost profits, took a hit, with J.P Morgan Chase's 1.8 percentfall weighing the most on the S&P 500.

"You have the yield curve continuing to flatten, which isnot great for financial stocks," said Michael Antonelli,managing director, institutional sales trading at Robert W.Baird in Milwaukee.

The yield spread between U.S. 30-year bonds and U.S. 5-yearnotes narrowed to the flattest level since January 2012 onWednesday after the Fed decision.

Data on Thursday showed U.S. retail sales increased morethan expected in May, its biggest advance since November 2017that indicated an acceleration in economic growth in the secondquarter. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N1TF1ZT

Other data showed a further tightening in labor marketconditions, with the number of Americans on jobless rollsdeclining to a near 44-1/2-year low.

At 11:46 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 8.52 points, or 0.03 percent, at 25,192.68, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 7.60 points, or 0.27 percent, at 2,783.23 and theNasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 62.77 points, or 0.82 percent,at 7,758.46.

Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, led by a 1.2percent gain in the telecom services index .SPLRCL .

ComcastCMCSA.O jumped 2.9 percent after the companyoffered Twenty-First Century FoxFOXA.O$65 billion to lure itaway from a merger with Walt DisneyDIS.N . urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N1TF5B8

Disney also rose 1.9 percent, providing the biggest boost tothe Dow Jones Industrial Average.

OracleORCL.N dropped 4.1 percent after Nomura cut itsprice target on the business software maker's stock.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.31-to-1 ratioon the NYSE and for a 1.23-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 27 new 52-week highs and one new low,while the Nasdaq recorded 119 new highs and 19 new lows. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by AnilD'Silva) ((sruthi.shankar@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 2238780; outside U.S. +91 80 6749 6328; Reuters Messaging:sruthi.shankar.reuters.com@reuters.net))

This article appears in: Stocks , World Markets , US Markets
Referenced Symbols: CMCSA ,

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