U.S. stocks fluctuated between gains and losses at the open on Thursday after a spate of lackluster U.S. economic data constrained gains. Stock futures trimmed their advance after the data, as a larger-than-expected drop in sales at U.S. retailers stoked worries about the strength of the consumer. The data revealed a larger-than-expected decline in sales, stoking worries about the strength of the U.S. consumer. The S&P 500 index shed 2 points, or 0.1%, to 2,124. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was essentially flat at 18,030. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 8 points, or 0.2%, to 5,182.
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