Consumer companies rose slightly ahead of key earnings in the sector.

The Federal Trade Commission sued to block Kroger's $25 billion bid for rival Albertsons because of the risk of higher food prices and lower wages, throwing into uncertainty the fate of one of the largest supermarket deals in history.

The companies' plan to sell hundreds of stores in Washington, Colorado and other states won't solve the problem, the FTC said.

U.S. new-home sales rose 1.5% to an annual rate of 661,000 in January, from a revised 651,000 in the prior month, according to Commerce Department estimates. shares were more or less flat as the online mega store's shares replaced those of drug-store chain Walgreen Boots Alliance in the Dow Jones Industrial Average index.

"It looks like some of the online retail continues to gain market share from bricks-and-mortar," said J.D. Joyce, president of Houston financial advisory Joyce Wealth Management.

Earnings from bricks-and-mortar retailers later this week and next may "give us a glimpse into the strength of the economy," said Joyce.

Write to Rob Curran at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

02-26-24 1734ET