Stocks were trading 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.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose nine points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,824 as of 2:35 p.m. (1835 GMT). The Dow Jones industrial average gained 92 points, or 0.6 percent, to 16,119. The Nasdaq added 14 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,013.
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.
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."
GOOD SIGN: Retail sales improved, particularly in the second half of March, as unusually cold weather that gripped much of the country this winter began to ease. That motivated more people to go out and spend, which is good news for the economy.
"As we look forward, the consumer may continue to (spend) and may continue to drive the economy overall," said J.J. Kinahan, chief strategist with TD Ameritrade.