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NEW YORK (AP) Stocks are edging mostly higher on Wall Street after the government reported a surprisingly large increase in U.S. retail sales last month.

The pickup of 0.4 percent suggests shoppers weren't put off by the government shutdown in October. It was the biggest increase in four months.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up a point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,789 in the first few minutes of trading Wednesday.

The Dow Jones industrial average was flat at 15,967. The Nasdaq composite was up seven points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,937.

J.C. Penney jumped 10 percent after reporting a jump in sales leading up to the holiday shopping season.

Lowe's lost 4 percent after its earnings fell short of Wall Street's forecast.