US stocks open higher after strong retail report

NEW YORK (AP) ? Strong February retail sales results drove U.S. stocks higher at the opening of trading.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday morning that retail sales rose 1.1 percent last month, the biggest gain in five months.

Some of the gain reflected higher gas prices, but consumers also bought more cars, clothes and appliances. Department stores had their biggest gains in more than a year.

The Dow Jones industrial average is up 45 points to 13,006 shortly after the opening bell. That’s a gain of 0.4 percent.

The Dow has risen four days straight, the second time that has happened so far this year.

The S&P 500 index rose 6 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,378. The Nasdaq composite index is up 19 points, or 0.6 percent, to 3,003.