Upbeat retail sales data, Citigroup earnings lift stocks

|By:, SA News Editor

Stocks posted solid gains as robust U.S. retail sales data signaled economic growth after being bogged down in Q1 due to harsh weather, overriding concerns about rising instability in Ukraine.

Citigroup's better than expected Q1 earnings lifted its shares and the financial sector, helping overall sentiment at the open.

The Nasdaq regained its positive footing, even as many momentum stocks that have been hit hard in recent weeks fell after a morning rally; the tech sector held up fairly well but ended below session highs, while in a roller-coaster ride, the Nasdaq biotech index gained as much as 2.7% early, then swooned 1.1%, and finally ended flat.

The dollar rose vs. other major currencies, while Treasurys posted slim losses, sending the benchmark 10-year yield higher by one basis point to 2.64%.

Participation was below average, as fewer than 680M shares changed hands on the NYSE.