Stocks Opened Sharply Higher on Upbeat Retail Data

U.S. stocks opened Sharply higher on Monday after March retail sales topped expectations, bolstering confidence in the recovery. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 108.27 points to 12,957.86. The S&P 500 Index added 6.53 points to 1,376.79. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 8.28 points to 3,019.61.

U.S. retail sales rose at a solid pace last month, as a healthier job market and warmer weather encouraged more consumers to shop. The Commerce Department said Monday that retail sales rose 0.8 percent in March. That’s below February’s 1 percent increase but above January’s pace.

Citigroup Inc’s first-quarter profit beat Wall Street estimates as expenses fell 7 percent from the 2011 fourth quarter. The New York-based lender said earnings per share, excluding the impact of certain accounting adjustments for changes in the value debts and credits, were $1.11. Net income, under generally accepted accounting principles, was $2.93 billion, or 95 cents a share, down from $2.99 billion, or 99  cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue from the company’s ongoing securities trading and investment banking business declined 12 percent from the strong quarter a year earlier but rose 65 percent from the weak 2011 fourth quarter.

Spain’s debt yields broke above 6 percent on Monday as investors worried about its budget, knocking the euro and sending safe-haven German bonds to a record last set at the height of the euro zone crisis.

Private equity firm Carlyle Group LP said it is looking to raise between $701.5 million to $762.5 million in its initial public offering, valuing the company at as much as $7.61 billion, as it presses on with its plans to catch up with rivals Blackstone (NYS:BX), KKR (NYS:KKR) and Apollo (NYS:APO).

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