S&P 500 hits 1,900 for the first time … Growth in retail sales slows … US businesses increased March stockpiles

NEW YORK (AP) — The S&P 500 crossed above 1,900 for the first time today as investors assessed news on retail sales. As of 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time, the S&P 500 rose four points, to 1,900. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 30 points, to 16,725. And the Nasdaq composite gained four points, to 4,148.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. retail sales growth slowed in April, with consumers shopping less online and cutting back on purchases of furniture and electronics. The Commerce Department says retail sales rose just 0.1 percent last month, after surging 1.5 percent in March following a harsh winter that had curtailed shopping.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses increased their stockpiles in March, and sales increased by the largest amount in 10 months. The Commerce Department says stockpiles rose 0.4 percent after a 0.5 percent rise in February. Sales in March jumped 1 percent, the largest advance since May, after a 0.9 percent February increase.

UNDATED (AP) — Valeant Pharmaceuticals says it will upgrade its unsolicited bid to buy Botox maker Allergan for nearly $46 billion. The Canadian drugmaker says it will host a webcast later this month to explain why the cash-and-stock offer it announced last month is better than Allergan’s plan to continue running as a stand-alone company. Valeant offered to exchange each Allergan share for $48.30 in cash and a portion of Valeant’s stock. But Allergan rejected that bid, saying it undervalues the company, and would pose a significant risk to its growth prospects.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Business software maker Oracle is asking a federal appeals court to reinstate a $1.3 billion jury verdict against its biggest rival, SAP for copyright infringement. A trial judge in 2011 called the award excessive and reduced it by about $1 billion, prompting Oracle to take its case to the 9th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel of the appeals court will hear arguments in San Francisco today.

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