Closing Update: Major Averages Finish With Strong Gains After December Sales Surprise

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Stocks closed higher Tuesday after retailers saw a small rise in year-over-year sales during December, outpacing market expectations for little or no growth during the critical holiday season. All 10 sectors in the S&P 500 rose, led by gains for technology stocks following a new upgrade for chip-maker Intel and an acquisition by search-engine giant Google. Shares of healthcare and energy companies also posted strong advances.

The Commerce Department toda said retail sales rose 0.2% in December, beating forecasts for sales to remain unchanged. But the better than expected results were tempered by a downward revision to November which went from a healthy 0.7% gain to a modest 0.4% rise.

Export prices increased 0.4% in December, the Labor Department reported, beating consensus estimates for a 0.1% rise. Import prices were unchanged compared with forecasts calling for a 0.4% gain. Also, business inventories continued to accelerate, gaining 0.4% in November from an upwardly revised +0.8% in October, according to Commerce Department figures.

Crude oil for February delivery rose 74 cents to settle at $92.52 per barrel while February natural gas added 10 to finish at 4.37 per 1 million BTU. February gold slid $5.90 to $1,245.20 per ounce while March silver fell 9 cents to $20.28 per ounce. March copper was off a penny at $3.34 per pound.

Here's where the U.S. markets stood at end-of-day:

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 115.92 (+0.71%) to 16,373.86

S&P 500 up 19.68 (+1.08%) to 1,838.88

Nasdaq Composite Index up 69.71 (+1.69%) to 4,183.02

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Hang Seng Index down 0.43%

Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.86%

FTSE 100 Index up 0.14%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) MNOV, Announced positive results from a study that examined the potential clinical efficacy of MN-001 for the treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

(+) MZOR, Signed an agreement to provide its Renaissance system and portfolio of disposable products to one of the largest group-purchasing organizations for hospitals, acute and non-acute healthcare facilities.

(+) AQQ, Will record a $2 million gain in Q1 2014 on a real estate sale in Houston, Texas.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) FULL, Priced a public offering of 1,650,000 shares of its common stock at a public offering price of $7.13 per share

(-) WWW, Reported weaker-than-expected preliminary FY13 results

(-) GME, Announced lower-than-expected guidance for Q4 and full-year 2013 EPS on slower than forecast sales of new software and lower gross margins.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 MTNewswires.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.


This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

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