Strong July Retail Report Boosts U.S. Markets

Friday's opening looks to end a crazy week on a high note

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Stocks opened with gains on Friday after a report on July retail sales showed consumers spending more than they had in June, especially at the gas pump. According to MarketWatch, "The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 126.24 points to 11,117.08. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed 12.46 points to 1,185.10. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 15.87 points to 2,508.51. The Wall Street Journal pointed to the improved numbers from the U.S. Department of Commerce for July, as well as a June report that was revised upward.

Retail and food services sales climbed by 0.5% from the previous month to $390.42 billion, the Commerce Department said Friday.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a 0.6% increase.

June retail sales were up a revised 0.3%. The Commerce Department originally estimated a 0.1% gain.

The news will certainly bring relief for investors reeling from huge market swings over the past week. CNN reminds us of the craziness: "On Monday, the Dow sank 635 points, then rallied 430 points Tuesday. On Wednesday, it plunged 520 points, just to end 423 points higher in Thursday's session. The moves marked the first time in history that the Dow had closed with a net change of more than 400 points for four straight sessions." Phew.

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