Retail sales and jobs reports send stocks higher

The Dow gained 93 points, the S&P 500 rose 14 points, and the Nasdaq closed 39 points higher

Henny Ray Abrams / AP / File
In this file photo taken May 6, 2011, traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. World markets managed modest gains Thursday, July 7, 2011, shrugging off a weak US growth report and an interest rate hike in China.

NEW YORK (AP) — A rebound in retail sales and stronger jobs reports are pushing U.S. stocks near their highest levels of the year.

Retailers reported their best June sales in more than a decade. Warm weather and discounts helped bring shoppers back to stores.

The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits fell to a seven-week low last week. Private companies added more than double the number of employees that economists expected last month.

The Dow is closing with a gain of 93 points, or 0.7 percent, to 12,719. The S&P 500 is up 14, or 1 percent, at 1,353. The Nasdaq composite is up 39, or 1.4 percent, at 2,873.

Four stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was average at 3.6 billion shares.

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