Traders gather at the post that handles Sprint on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. Softbank Corp. has reached a deal to buy 70 percent of U.S. mobile carrier Sprint Nextel Corp. for $20.1 billion in the largest ever foreign acquisition by a Japanese company.
NEW YORK — Stocks opened higher Monday on Wall Street after a strong report on retail sales.
The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 1.1 percent last month after a 1.2 percent increase in August. Those are the largest gains since October 2010 and could reflect growing confidence in the economy.
In the first hour of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 14 points at 13,342. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up a point and a half at 1,430. The Nasdaq composite index was up three at 3,047.
Citigroup stock opened higher after the bank beat Wall Street earnings estimates. The stock was up $1.21 at $35.96. The bank made $1.06 per share from July through September after excluding special items, beating a prediction of 96 cents.
Most other financial stocks followed Citi higher. Bank of America stock rose 1.9 percent, and JPMorgan Chase rose 0.8 percent.
Wells Fargo turned a record profit last quarter, but analysts warned it might have trouble making money on interest payments for loans. Its stock fell 1.1 percent on Monday.
A round of economic figures from China helped support markets in Europe at the start of a week that could offer greater clarity on the economic fates of Greece and Spain.
Figures showing China's inflation rate fell to 1.9 percent in September from 2 percent the month before reinforced investor hopes for more stimulus for in the world's second-largest economy.
The benchmark stock index in Germany was up 0.6 percent. Stocks climbed 1.1 percent in France and 0.4 percent in Britain. Stocks finished mostly higher in Asian markets.
In the United States, investors sold government bonds and drove yields slightly higher. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 1.67 percent from 1.66 percent Friday.
The price of crude oil fell $1.37 to $90.48 per barrel.
Among other stocks making moves in the U.S., Eli Lilly rose $1.65, or 3.2 percent, to $52.10. The company said potential stomach cancer treatment met goals for improved patient survival compared with a dummy treatment in a clinical study.
Health care stocks were the best-performing group in the S&P 500, rising 0.5 percent. Energy stocks were among the worst.