Retail sales figures boost US stocks



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(Close): Stocks on Wall Street rose on Thursday, with positive US retail sales data lightening the mood after Wednesday's downturn.

The Dow Jones rose 63.19 points or 0.36% to 17,596.33.

The broad-based S&P 500 was 9 points or 0.45% higher at 2,035.30, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq closed up 24 points or 0.52% to 4,708.16.

Retail sales in November went up 0.7% from the previous month to $449.3bn, Commerce Department figures indicated.

The news provided relief from the relentless fall in oil prices. In New York, light sweet crude fell below $60 a barrel for the first time since July 2009.

"Investors are watching oil and they don't know what to make of it," Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank told AFP.