RTTNews - Stocks are seeing modest strength in early trading on Thursday, with the major averages adding to the strong gains posted in the previous session. Nonetheless, buying interest has been somewhat subdued following the release of some disappointing economic data.

With Harris (HRS) leading the way higher after reporting better than expected fourth quarter earnings, networking stocks are turning in some of the best performances in early trading. Notable strength has also emerged among metal, banking, and airline stocks.

Some traders are reluctant to buy stocks following the release of some disappointing economic news, including a report from the Commerce Department showing an unexpected drop in retail sales in July.

The report showed that retail sales edged down 0.1 percent in July following an upwardly revised 0.8 percent increase in the previous month. The decrease surprised economists, who had expected sales to increase by 0.8 percent compared to the 0.6 percent increase originally reported for June.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed that initial jobless claims in the week ended August 8th edged up to 558,000 from the previous week's revised figured of 554,000. Economists had been expecting claims to slip to 545,000 from the 550,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Nonetheless, some positive sentiment has been generated by better than expected second quarter earnings from Wal-Mart (WMT), which reported earnings for the quarter of $0.87 per share compared to analyst estimates of $0.86 per share.

The major averages are currently holding onto modest gains, although they are off their highs for the young session. The Dow is currently up 13.07 at 9,374.68, the Nasdaq is up 6.59 at 2,005.31 and the S&P 500 is up 2.29 at 1,008.10.

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