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Stocks rise on retail sales, manufacturing data

September 16, 2009|Associated Press

NEW YORK — Upbeat reports on retail sales and manufacturing sent stocks higher Tuesday, as did comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke that the recession was probably over.

Surging shares of raw-material and industrial companies led the Dow Jones industrial average to a gain of 56 points, its seventh advance in eight days and a fresh high for the year. Oil leaped back above $70 a barrel as commodities rallied.

Hopes for an economic rebound grew after the government reported that retail sales jumped 2.7% in August, the biggest increase in three years. Even after stripping out the effect of the government's popular "cash for clunkers" program, sales rose 1.1%, more than the 0.4% gain expected by analysts.

The Fed reported that an index of prospects in the New York region's manufacturing sector rose to the best highest level since late 2007.

Bernanke cheered investors by saying the worst recession since the 1930s had "very likely" ended, though he cautioned that problems such as high unemployment would remain for some time.

The Dow climbed 56.61 points, or 0.6%, to 9,683.41, its highest close since Oct. 6.

The S&P 500 rose 3.29 points, or 0.3%, to 1,052.63, while the Nasdaq composite index gained 10.86 points, or 0.5%, to 2,102.64.

The Russell 2,000 index of smaller companies rose 0.8%.

Yields on government bonds advanced along with stocks. The benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.45% from 3.4% late Monday.

Oil futures rose $2.07 to settle at $70.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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