Stocks Closed Broad Gains

Stocks posted their biggest gains in nearly two months on Tuesday as retail sales figures allayed fears over the economy that had driven a six-week slump in the market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 123.14 points, or 1.03%, to 12,076.11. The S&P 500 rose 16.04 points, or 1.26%, to 1,287.87. The Nasdaq Compositegained 39.03 points, or 1.48%, to 2,678.72.

The government reported that retail sales slipped 0.2 percent last month, the first decline in nearly a year. Lower cars sales brought down the reading. The report still beat analysts’ expectations. Excluding car sales, retail sales rose 0.3 percent. The Labor Department also added some upbeat news, saying that food costs were falling.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned on Tuesday that a failure to lift the government’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling risks a potentially disastrous loss of confidence in America’s creditworthiness.

Oil climbed above $99 per barrel Tuesday.Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery gained $2.07, or 2.1 percent, to settle at $99.37 per barrel, rebounding from Monday’s decline on the New York MercantileExchange.

Apple Inc. on Tuesday started selling “unlocked” iPhones in the U.S. for the first time, allowing owners to switch carriers to a limited extent and save money when travelling. Apple is selling them on its websites and its store for $649 and $749 depending on how much memory they have. They’re identical to the versions sold for use on AT&T Inc.’s network, but don’t require a two-year contract.

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