Stocks higher after retail sales improve
Stocks rose on Monday after a strong gain in retail spending suggested that consumers could be getting more confident about the economy.
The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 1.1 percent last month after a 1.2 percent increase in August. Those are the largest gains since October 2010.
Shortly after noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 68 points at 13,397. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up seven points at 1,435. The Nasdaq composite index rose eight points to 3,052.
Despite the strong retail spending news, retail stocks were mixed. Wal-Mart Stores rose, but Target fell slightly, and J.C. Penney Co. fell 1.3 percent.
Citigroup rose $1.74, or 5 percent, to $36.49 after the bank beat Wall Street earnings estimates. Most other financial stocks followed Citi higher. Bank of America rose 1.8 percent, and JPMorgan Chase rose 1.5 percent. However, Wells Fargo continued to struggle after reporting a record profit on Friday. Analysts warned it might have trouble making money on interest payments for loans. Its stock fell 1.7 percent on Monday, after dropping on Friday, too.
Economic figures from China helped support markets in Europe at the start of a week that could offer greater clarity on the economic fates of Greece and Spain.
China's inflation rate fell to 1.9 percent in September from 2 percent the month before, reinforcing investor hopes for more stimulus in the world's second-largest economy.
The benchmark stock index in Germany was up 0.4 percent. Stocks climbed 0.9 percent in France and 0.2 percent in Britain. Stocks finished mostly higher in Asia.
In the United States, investors sold government bonds and drove yields slightly higher. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 1.67 percent from 1.66 percent Friday.
The price of crude oil fell $1 to $90.86 per barrel.
Among other stocks making moves in the U.S., Eli Lilly rose $2.05, or 4.1 percent, to $52.50. The company said potential stomach cancer treatment met goals for improved patient survival compared with a dummy treatment in a clinical study.
Health care stocks were the best-performing group in the S&P 500, rising 1.2 percent. Energy stocks were the only declining industry among the 10 in the S&P 500.
Travel deals website operator Travelzoo Inc. fell for a second day after warning on Friday that its poorly-performing hotel search business will hurt third-quarter results. On Monday, its stock was down 79 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $19.23.
Home health care provider Amedisys Inc. fell $1.26, or 9.5 percent, to $12.07 after saying revenue from health insurer Humana Inc. will shrink.