NEW YORK -- Blue-chip stocks closed higher today as strong sales at the nation's largest retailers reminded investors that economic growth isn't always bad news.
Dow up 85.80
At the end of trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 85.80 at 10,663.69 in advance of tomorrow's much-anticipated unemployment report.
Broader stock indicators were mixed, with the technology-dominated Nasdaq Stock Market languishing throughout the session.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4.73 to 1,299.54, and the Nasdaq composite fell 29.04 to 2,403.37.
Advancers beat decliners by a 6-to-5 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, with 1,594 up, 1,311 down and 616 unchanged. NYSE volume was 720.29 million shares vs. 732.65 million yesterday.
The NYSE composite index rose 3.70 to 624.20, and the American Stock Exchange composite index rose 4.71 to 775.94.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 0.76 to 435.98.
The 30-year bond today slipped 2/32, or 63 cents per $1,000 security, to 90 14/32, nudging its yield up 1 basis point to 5.94 percent. Yesterday, yields rose to 5.98 percent, the highest level since May 14, 1998.
Stock trading has been especially volatile since May 18, when the Federal Reserve warned it would raise interest rates if it determined that inflation has crept into the booming U.S. economy.
Since that warning, the market has turned on every new sign of inflationary pressures.
Continued signs of growth -- ordinarily a boon to stocks -- have spooked investors who fear that higher interest rates will cut into the profits of major U.S. corporations.