Stocks record biggest gains of year

NEW YORK (AP) ? Stocks are closing with their biggest gains this year.

They rallied from the opening bell Tuesday after the government said February retail sales gains were the strongest since September. JPMorgan Chase gave the rally extra juice by announcing it would raise its stock dividend.

Preliminary results show the Dow Jones industrial average closing up 220 points at 13,179. That’s the highest close since the last day of 2007. The Nasdaq composite index is closing above 3,000 for the first time since December 2000.

Advancing stocks outnumbered decliners by about 5-to-1 on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was about average at 4 billion shares.