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Futures Stay Mixed After Producer Price Index

Futures remained mixed Wednesday after news core producer prices rose at their fastest pace in six months in July, but were buoyed by several positive earnings news from big retailers.

The producer price index rose 0.4 percent in July, according to the Labor Department, its biggest increase since January. Economists had expected a gain of 0.2 percent, according to a Reuters poll.

Among earnings, Target gained after the big-box retailer reported a better-than-expected profit, as sales perked up toward the end of the quarter.

Abercrombie and Fitch also posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit.

Also among retailers, Staples jumped after the office supply chain also beat earnings expectations, helped by their international business.

Meanwhile, Dell delivered a mixed quarterly report—beating on earnings but missing on revenue—and offered a disappointing outlook.

And Deere slipped even after the farm equipment maker posted a higher-than-expected profit and raised its full-year earnings forecast.

Also on the economic front, weekly mortgage applications gained last weekas interest rates continued to decline, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

In Europe, the latest meeting of France's Nicholas Sarkozy and Germany's Angela Merkel saw an announcement of a tax on financial transactions but little movement towards greater European fiscal unity or a euro bond.

Meanwhile, euro zone consumer price inflation fell 0.6 percent in July compared to the previous month remaining 2.5 percent on the year.

Coming Up This Week:

WEDNESDAY: Oil inventories
THURSDAY: CPI, jobless claims, existing home sales, Philadelphia Fed survey, leading indicators, money supply, Forest Labs shareholder mtg; Earnings from Sears, Hewlett-Packard and Gap
FRIDAY: Fed's Pianalto speaks, Google IPO anniversary