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Strong Retail Sales and Corporate Earnings Results Boost Entrepreneur Index™ and Confidence in the Economy

The Entrepreneur Index™ posted a modest gain of 0.18 percent today.

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U.S. retail sales last month rose an unexpectedly strong 1.6 percent. That and better-than-expected corporate earnings results helped the stock market post modest gains today.

The Dow and S&P 500 indexes were up 0.42 percent and 0.16 percent respectively while the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.02 percent. The Entrepreneur Index™ closed the day with a gain of 0.18 percent.

Returns were muted on the index today. TripAdvisor Inc. had the biggest gain, rising 1.83 percent. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, on a week-long slide, had the biggest loss, falling 2.81 percent.

Diversified manufacturer Danaher beat both revenue and earnings estimates but didn't get a lot of love from investors. The stock's 1.51 percent gain was significantly less than the 2.57 percent drop yesterday heading into the earnings release. Shares are up 22.9 percent this year.

The technology sector rallied a bit late in the day but was generally weak. After the biggest decline in the sector yesterday, TripAdvisor Inc. had the biggest gain, rising 1.83 percent. Netflix, also down yesterday after reporting great earnings but giving cautious guidance, was up 1.58 percent today. Cognizant Technology, down 1.12 percent, had the biggest decline.

The strong March retail sales number buoyed the real estate investment trust market today. All nine REITs on the Entrepreneur Index™ were up with shopping center manager Kimco Realty Corp. (1.8 percent) posting the biggest gain. The sector was down sharply two days ago on fears of a slowing economy and rising commercial vacancy rates.

Other gains on the index included Cintas Corp. (1.78 percent), Chipotle Mexican Grill (1.71 percent) and Universal Health Services (1.51 percent).

Investors continued to sell Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. While other healthcare stocks bounced after a significant two-day slide, Regeneron was down another 2.81 percent today. The stock has fallen 18.9 percent in the last six trading sessions and is now down 10.7 percent for the year.

Pipeline manager Kinder Morgan and retailer O'Reilly Auto Parts were the only other stocks on the Entrepreneur Index™ to fall by more than one percent, losing 1.52 percent and 1.19 percent respectively.

The Entrepreneur Index™ collects the top 60 publicly traded companies founded and run by entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit is a valuable asset for any business, and this index recognizes its importance, no matter how much a company has grown. These inspirational businesses can be tracked in real time on Entrepreneur.com.

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