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Stocks close higher on retail sales increase

Stocks close higher on retail sales increase
Wall Street is nervous about the possibility that the Federal Reserve may taper off a bond-buying stimulus program as early as this year. (Michael Nagle / Bloomberg News)

Stocks are closing higher, clawing back some of the ground they lost last week, as investors were encouraged by solid earnings from Citigroup and a pickup in retail sales last month.

The government reported earlier Monday that U.S. retail sales notched their biggest increase since 2012 in March. February's numbers were also revised higher.

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Citigroup rose 4 percent after its results came in better than the market was expecting. That was a welcome surprise following an earnings miss last week by JPMorgan Chase.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 14 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 1,830. Energy stocks rose the most.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 146 points, or 0.9 percent, to 16,173. The Nasdaq rose 22 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,022.

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