Stocks edged higher on Wall Street after a rally in retail stocks offset concerns about flaring tensions in Washington over increasing the country's borrowing limit.
The Dow Jones industrial average ended the day up 27.57 points at 13,534.89. The Dow moved higher in the late afternoon after being down as much as 62 points in the early going. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.11 percent to 1,472.34, a five-year high. The Nasdaq composite index, dragged down by a fall in Apple, fell 0.22 percent to 3,110.78.
Retail stocks moved higher throughout the day, boosted by a report that showed retail sales increased in December, helping the major indexes reverse early losses. Consumers bought more autos, furniture and clothing, despite worries about potential tax increases, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Sales rose 0.5 percent in December from November, slightly better than November's 0.4 percent increase and the best showing since September.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told congressional leaders in a letter late Monday that the U.S. government will reach its borrowing limit as soon as mid-February, earlier than expected. President Barack Obama has criticized congressional Republicans for linking talks over raising the debt ceiling to ongoing budget negotiations. -- AP