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Stocks lower...Airline merger challenged...Toyota's goal

Tuesday - 8/13/2013, 11:50am  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are edging lower on Wall Street, extending a decline from record levels reached at the beginning of August. Investors were disappointed by a report on retail sales last month that came in weaker than the market expected. The company that owns KFC and Taco bell slumped after reporting that its sales plunged in China last month. Homebuilders slid after interest rates increased in the bond market, which could send mortgage rates higher.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Despite a drop in auto sales, U.S. retail sales have posted a gain for July. And a category of purchases that excludes the most volatile sectors rose by the most in seven months, a sign that stronger consumer spending could boost economic growth. The Commerce Department says retail sales increased 0.2 percent in July from June. Sales had risen 0.6 percent in June from May. The change in both months was driven by autos, which surged 2.9 percent in June but fell 1 percent in July. "Core" retail sales, which exclude the volatile auto, gas and building supply categories, rose 0.5 percent in July.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. businesses left stockpiles unchanged in June while sales rose modestly, an encouraging sign. The Commerce Department says business stockpiles were flat in June compared with May. Inventories had fallen a slightly 0.1 percent in May. Sales rose 0.2 percent in June after a solid 1.1 percent increase in May.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Justice Department and a number of state attorneys general are challenging the proposed $11 billion merger between US Airways Group Inc. and American Airlines' parent company, AMR Corp. The Justice Department says the merger would result in the creation of the world's largest airline. The government says a combination of the two companies would reduce competition for commercial air travel in local markets and would result in passengers paying higher airfares and receive less service.

DETROIT (AP) -- A top executive says Toyota intends to keep the Camry as the top-selling car in America this year. Senior Vice President Bob Carter tells industry analysts that it's important to Toyota to have the nation's favorite car. The midsize Camry has been the top-seller for 11 straight years. Carter says Toyota intends to sell more than 400,000 this year. But the car is facing increased competition from Honda's Accord, Ford's Fusion and Nissan's Altima.


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