US stocks ended higher as surging biotech shares helped investors shrug off disappointing data showing retail sales unexpectedly stalled in July.
Macy's Inc quarterly earnings missed analysts' estimates and the department store operator slashed its full-year same-store sales forecast, driving the stock down 5.5 per cent to $56.47.
Other major retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc , are expected to report results today. Wal-Mart shares slipped 0.3 per cent to $74.03.
Biotech shares surged, with the Nasdaq Biotech Index climbing 2.1 percent in sync with a rally in the stocks of InterMune Inc and Jazz Pharmaceuticals PLC.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals shares, the biggest gainer in the S&P 500 healthcare sector, shot up 3.9 per cent to $88.75. Nearly two weeks ago, the company said it had received European approval to use its treatment Kayldeco on patients with cystic fibrosis.
Amazon shares gained 2.2 per cent to $326.28. Earlier in the day, the company unveiled a $10 credit-card reader and mobile app that will let it grab a bigger share of the mobile payments and bricks- and-mortar retail markets.
The stocks of both King Digital Entertainment plc and SeaWorld Entertainment Inc marked their biggest one-day declines ever following quarterly results that missed analysts' forecasts.
Shares of King, maker of the social media and mobile game Candy Crush Saga, fell 23.1 per cent to close at $13.99. SeaWorld shares sank 32.9 per cent to end at $18.90 after the company slashed its full-year revenue forecast because of a huge controversy over its amusement park shows featuring orcas.