Economy

Better news on sales, jobs sends stocks higher

Stocks are opening higher as traders were encouraged by a pickup in retail sales and more signs of health in the U.S. job market.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose three points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,871 in the first few minutes of trading Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 45 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,384. The Nasdaq composite increased seven points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,330.

General Electric rose 1 percent after the company said it would spin off its North American consumer lending unit. The Commerce Department said Thursday that retail sales rose 0.3 percent in February as Americans spent more on autos, clothing and furniture.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.75 percent from 2.73 percent late Wednesday.

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