NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are mixed in early trading on Wall Street, at the start of a week full of hints about the health of the nation's retailers. A number of big retail chains are posting earnings this week, including Macy's, Wal-Mart and J.C. Penney.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- There's another indication today that Americans are increasing their spending despite paying higher taxes. The Commerce Department says retail sales edged up 0.1 percent in April. That's an improvement from the 0.5 percent decline in March, the largest in nine months. Excluding gas station sales, retail spending rose 0.7 percent in April. Core retail sales, which strip out the volatile categories of gas, autos and building supplies, increased 0.5 percent.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. businesses left their stockpiles unchanged in March for a second straight month while their sales fell sharply. The Commerce Department says business stockpiles showed no increase in March or February on a seasonally adjusted basis. Sales fell 1.1 percent in March compared with February, when sales rose 1 percent. A lack of inventory building could slow economic growth because it means businesses are ordering fewer factory-made goods.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has sustained Monsanto's claim that an Indiana farmer violated the company's patents on soybean seeds that are resistant to its weed-killer. In a unanimous vote, the justices rejected the farmer's argument that cheap soybeans he bought from a grain elevator are not covered by the Monsanto patents. Justice Elena Kagan says a farmer who buys patented seeds must have the patent holder's permission.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Industry analysts say cancer patients and others who need specialty drugs could face high out-of-pocket costs under the new federal health care law, depending on where they live. To keep premiums low, some states are allowing insurers to charge patients a hefty share of the cost for expensive medications used to treat cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic diseases. In California, patients could pay more than $2,000 a month for one widely used cancer drug, while New York caps co-pays at $70.
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