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Stock rise recovers lost ground

Specialist Anthony Rinaldi works at his post on

Specialist Anthony Rinaldi works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, April 11, 2014. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Stocks were mostly higher Monday afternoon, recovering some of the ground lost after a rough finish last week. A government report showing U.S. retail sales posted their biggest gain in 18 months in March and solid earnings from Citigroup helped cheer investors as corporate earnings start to come in.

At the close on Wall Street, the Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 15 points, or about 0.8 percent, at 1,830.6. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 146.5 points, or about 0.9 percent, to 16,173.2. The Nasdaq, which turned choppy at midafternoon and briefly logged some loses, closed with a 23-point gain, about 0.6 percent, at 4,022.7.

The S&P 500 dropped 2.7 percent last week, its worst weekly showing since January. The Nasdaq composite notched its third consecutive weekly decline.

SECTOR WATCH: Nine of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index rose, led by energy stocks. Health care stocks fell slightly.

SALES UP: Retail sales rose 1.1 percent in March, the best showing since September 2012, the Commerce Department reported. The government also revised February's figure to a 0.7 percent gain, more than double its previous estimate. Sales dropped in January and December.

"Retail sales was a really big number and very impressive," said Doug Cote, chief market strategist at ING U.S. Investment Management. "It bodes well for the market."

CITIGROUP GAINS: Citigroup reported a 2.5 percent increase in first-quarter profit. Both income and revenue beat Wall Street's expectations. The lender got a boost from improving results in its Citi Holdings unit, which is selling off assets such as mortgages that soured in the financial crisis. Citi's shares closed up $1.98, or 4.3 percent, at $47.66.

OIL BOOM: Goodrich Petroleum got a big boost Monday when it reported results from a well in Louisiana. Shares gained $5.59, or 3.4 percent, to close at $23.99. The stock is up 39 percent this year. The latest gains build on an impressive turnaround by the oil and gas producer, whose shares fell for four straight years from 2009 through 2012. The stock began bouncing back last year.

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