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  • Retail sales in US rose more than expected in July.
  • Walmart reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings.  
  • Energy shares slide as crude oil struggles to preserve recovery gains.

Major equity indexes in the United States started the day modestly higher on Thursday as investors try to make sense of the upbeat retail sales data, strong Walmart earnings, and latest headlines surrounding the US-China trade dispute. As of writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were both up 0.1% on the day while the Nasdaq Composite was posting small losses.

The US Census Bureau today reported that retail sales in July rose by 0.7% in July to come in better than the market expectation of 0.3%. Additionally, the retail-giant Walmart reported stronger-than-expected earnings for the second quarter. Boosted by these data, the Consumer Staples Index gained traction and was last up 0.8% on the day.

On the other hand, China earlier today said that the US decision to impose 10% tariffs starting September was an action against the agreement the sides had reached in Osaka and repeated the willingness to take countermeasures. Crude oil prices struggled to stage a decisive recovery following these remarks and the barrel of WTI was last down nearly 1% on the day, weighing on the Energy Index, which is leading the losers in early trade by erasing 0.5%.