Stocks Return to Winning Ways

Stock markets are moving higher today on strong retail sales and another good earnings report. Retail sales for September grew 1.1%, versus expectations of a 0.9% rise. Online retail drove the growth, improving 1.8%.

Last week the market ignored positive indicators like this, but for now markets are moving higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) is up 0.65%, and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) has climbed 0.59% in late trading.

The earnings news driving stocks came from megabank Citigroup (NYS: C) , which reported an adjusted profit of $1.06 per share, $0.10 ahead of estimates. The bank's stock has jumped 4.3%, and Dow components Bank of America (NYS: BAC) and JPMorgan (NYS: JPM) are following suit, climbing 2.1% and 1.4%, respectively.

Banking stocks continue their bull run, and if consumer numbers continue to be strong, I wouldn't be surprised if the run continues. Bank of America may have the greatest upside, and our analyst thinks the stock could double or triple in the next five years. Read our deep dive into the stock by clicking here.

Telecommunications companies have stayed in the red today after Sprint (NYS: S) officially received an offer from SoftBank. The infusion of capital could allow the company to level the playing field with AT&T (NYS: T) and Verizon (NYS: VZ) in the wireless space. Sprint has a lot of catching up to do, and I don't think either company's immediate profitability is in danger. This could be a great buying opportunity for the long-term investor.

Economic and earnings news has been strong in recent weeks, and in the long term this will drive the market higher. If the trend continues, as it did today, the bearish predictions that drove stocks south before earnings season will be forgotten, and we should be in for a nice move higher.

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Fool contributor Travis Hoium has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, Citigroup Inc , and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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