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The S&P and Dow have now closed in the green for eight days in a row.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 15,501.3, +37.3, +0.2%
  • S&P 500: 1,682.7, +2.5, +0.1%
  • NASDAQ: 3,607.7, +7.7, +0.2%

And now, the top stories:

  • The Dow and S&P 500 closed at new all-time highs today. The last time the S&P closed up eight times in a row was November 2004.
  • June U.S. retail sales were disappointing.  The headline sales figure climbed by just 0.4%, falling short of expectations for a 0.8% gain. Excluding autos and gas, sales unexpectedly fell 0.1%. Economists were looking for a 0.4% gain.
  • Immediately after the report, economists at Barclays, Goldman Sachs, and Deutsche Bank slashed their forecasts for Q2 GDP growth. “Today’s number complicates Q2 GDP estimates,” tweeted BTIG’s Dan Greenhaus. “Q2 should be less than 1.0%, the second time in 3 qtrs GDP is less than 1.0%. That’s not very good.”
  • Still, stocks rallied.  Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Savita Subramanian cranked up her year-end target for the S&P 500 to 1,750 from 1,600. “Our new 2013 year-end target of 1750 implies modest upside from current levels, attributable to expected earnings growth, contrasting with returns so far this year driven by multiple expansion,” she said. “While the decline in the equity risk premium (ERP) has been more than twice what we expected, we think it is justified by diminished tail risks, positive surprises in the US economy, and, as expected, a continued decline in earnings volatility.”
  • Over night, we learned that China’s GDP growth rate decelerated to just 7.5% in Q2, down from 7.7% in Q1.
  • Don’t Miss: 17 Reasons Why Experts Are Convinced China’s Economy Is Doomed »

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