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US: Tech shares gain, retailers tumble


[NEW YORK] Technology shares advanced on Monday while retailers retreated ahead of highly-anticipated testimony by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and second quarter earnings reports later in the week.

Shares of Amazon, Facebook and Google-parent Alphabet climbed more than one per cent.

Retailers, meanwhile, suffered a blow after Abercrombie & Fitch called off talks related to its possible acquisition after receiving inquiries from possible suitors.

Abercrombie plummeted 21.2 per cent. Wal-Mart Stores and Nordstrom each tumbled 2.8 per cent, while Gap lost 6.3.

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Another retailer, Best Buy, dived 6.3 per cent following reports that Amazon plans to launch its own service of technical experts to make house calls, in direct competition with Best Buy's "Geek Squad." The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed less than 0.1 per cent to 21,408.52.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.1 per cent at 2,427.43, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.4 per cent to 6,176.39.

Key events later this week include the appearance by Yellen, who will update lawmakers on the outlook for the US economy and her expectations for additional interest rate increases in her twice-annual appearance before congressional committees.

Earnings season gets underway in earnest on Friday with reports from JPMorgan Chase and other large banks. Banks are flush with cash after clearing the Federal Reserve stress tests, raising the prospect that financial giants could turn to acquisitions as a way to grow.