Stronger retail profits boost Dow

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The Dow Jones industrial average rose 34.43 points to close at 11,671.88

Strong profits from major retailers and an upgrade to Hewlett-Packard have helped push stocks higher.

Sears Holdings and Tiffany&Co raised their earnings forecasts. Sears said it could earn twice as much as analysts had predicted this year. Tiffany said brisk holiday sales would push earnings higher.

Hewlett-Packard Co. was among the leaders in the Dow Jones industrial average after analysts at UBS raised their earnings estimates for the computer maker.

The Dow rose 34.43 points, or 0.3%, to close at 11,671.88. The Standard&Poor’s 500 gained 4.73 points, or 0.4%, to 1,274.48. The Nasdaq rose nine points, or 0.3%, to 2,716.83.

Verizon Communications and AT&T were the Dow’s losers. Verizon said it will start selling a version of Apple’s iPhone on February 10, breaking AT&T’s hold on the popular phone. AT&T had been the exclusive carrier since the phone launched in 2007. Verizon fell 1.6% to 35.36 dollars. AT&T fell 1.5% to 27.91 dollars.

Gains were spread across the market. Energy companies rose 1.6% to lead the S&P 500 index. Three of the 10 industry groups in the index fell, led by telecommunications companies. They fell 1.5%.

European stock markets jumped after Japan said it would buy bonds being issued to finance Europe’s bailout fund. That would help send bond yields down and ease debt pressures on countries like Ireland and Portugal. The Euro Stoxx 50, which tracks blue chip companies in countries that use the euro, rose 1.1%.

Supervalu fell 11% to 7.59 dollars after the supermarket chain said it lost money in its last quarter. Homebuilder Lennar gained 7%, to 20.24 dollars, after its results topped analysts’ forecasts.

Bond prices fell, sending their yields higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.34% from 3.29% late on Monday. The yield is used to set interest rates on many kinds of loans including mortgages.

Roughly three stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was 955 million shares.

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