After Market: Retail Sales Report Turns Investors into Buyers

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Some strong economic news was the balm investors needed Monday after last week's selloff. A government report showed retail sales jumped a much stronger-than-expected 1.1 percent in March. Apparently, there was plenty of pent-up demand after the long, hard winter.
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The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rallied 146 points, the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) rose 23 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) added 15 points. Those gains were not strong enough to offset last week's losses, but they did steady what has become a pretty rocky ship.

The big beneficiaries from the retail sales news were credit card companies. MasterCard (MA) jumped 3½ percent, Visa (V) rose nearly 2 percent and American Express (AXP) gained more than 1 percent.

What's interesting though, is that retailers didn't do much at all.

The other big factor lifting the market was a surprise gain in Citigroup's (C) earnings. The stock rallied more than 4 percent, but it's still down 11 percent over the past 3 months.

Monday's rally did not focus on the internet and biotech stocks that have been so volatile in recent weeks. They generally held within a narrow range.

Google (GOOG), Amazon (AMZN), Twitter (TWTR) and Netflix (NFLX) all edged slightly higher. Tesla (TSLA) fell 3 percent.

Among the biotechs: Biogen (BIIB) gained 2 percent and Amgen (AMGN) added 1 percent, but Intuitive Surgical (ICPT) fell 3 percent. It's been on a wild ride since announcing news about its new robotic surgical system two weeks ago.

Elsewhere, two stocks that were beat up late Friday rebounded Monday:

General Motors (GM) rose 2 percent. The Wall Street Journal reports its money-losing Opel division in Europe could turn a profit next year.

And Herbalife (HLF) rose 4½ percent. The company says it has no knowledge of FBI or Justice Department investigations.

Finally, Goodrich Petroleum (GDP) surged 30 percent after reporting strong results from recently acquired wells in Louisiana and Mississippi.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

What to Watch Tuesday:
  • Labor Department releases Consumer Price Index for March, 8:30 a.m.;
  • Treasury releases international money flows data for February, 9 a.m.;
  • National Association of Home Builders releases housing market index for April, 10 a.m.
These major companies are scheduled to report quarterly financial results:
  • Coca-Cola (KO)
  • Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)
  • CSX Corp. (CSX)
  • Intel (INTC)
  • Yahoo (YHOO)
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