U.S. stocks opened higher on Tuesday after an unexpectedly solid rise in the nation's industrial output helped bolster sentiment. Solid earnings from retailers Walmart and Home Depot are also supporting equities. The Dow Jones Industrial rose 50 points to 10,352. S&P 500 gained 7 points to 1,086 while the Nasdaq Composite added 16 points to 2,198. Walmart and Home Depot are trading up 2%. Another Dow component, Honeywell is up 2% on an upgrade. The best performing sector is the fertilizers. Potash is jumping 25% after rejecting a takeover offer from BHP Billiton. Rivals like Agrium, Intrepid Potash, and CF are also trading up 5%. Other commodity stocks are performing well including Freeport, Cleveland Natural Resources, and U.S. Steel. Other companies reporting earnings include Agilent, Urban Outfitters, TJX, and Saks. All are higher. Abercrombie & Fitch is lower by 8% even though they beat estimates. After the first hour the averages remain strong near the highs of the day. The techs look good except for Research in Motion. That stock is down 2.5% following lackluster sales of the new Torch phone. The financials are quiet this morning. Through the morning the averages kept improving with the Dow rising over 100 points. The Nasdaq rose 34 points. The techs and the commodities are in the lead. In the afternoon the Dow rose to 150 points before pulling back in the last hour. The Dow industrials jumped 103 points to end at 10,405. Gains for the blue-chip average were led by a 3.4% gain in shares of Home Depot along with fellow Dow component Walmart. The S&P 500 index rose 13 points, or 1.2%, to end at 1,092, lifted by a 2.3% gain in the materials sector. The Nasdaq Composite 27 points, or 1.3%, to 2,209.
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