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Stocks end day up, helped by good retail report

By msnbc.com news services

Despite a morning swoon, stocks ended higher Tuesday, in part buoyed by a report that said consumer spending increased more than expected in October.

According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 17.18 or 0.14 percent, to 12,096.16. The S&P 500 rose 6.03, or 0.48 percent to 1,257.80. The Nasdaq added 28.98, or 1.09 percent, to end at 2,686.98.

Americans spent at a decent clip last month, driving U.S. retail sales up 0.5 percent in October amid gains in demand for autos and electronics.

The Commerce Department said U.S. retail sales rose more than expected as strong receipts from motor vehicle and building material dealers offset the drag from service stations, suggesting the economy started the fourth quarter with some vigor.

Walmart’s third-quarter profit dipped, missing analysts’ forecasts. But the world’s largest retailer had its first quarterly revenue gain in more than two years. The report is a positive sign in the midst of otherwise bad economic news. Wal-Mart's core low-income shoppers have been particularly hard hit by joblessness and the other challenges of the weak economy. But the latest quarter indicates that they may be more willing to spend.

European debt issues continued to hang over the market. Higher interest rates on government debt issued by Italy, Spain and other European countries rattled stock markets in Europe early Tuesday.

The market rate for Italy's 10-year bond jumped back above 7 percent. When rates crossed the 7 percent threshold last week, it raised worries about the country's ability to manage its debts. Greece, Ireland and Portugal were forced to seek financial lifelines when their borrowing rates crossed the same mark.

CNBC's Seema Mody & Sharon Epperson discuss the day's major market action.

 

Previously: Stocks higher entering midafternoon in seesaw day

Associated Press contributed to this report.