NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are closing higher, building on a big gain from the day before.
Traders were encouraged Thursday by a pickup in retail sales last month, which suggested the economy is continuing to improve.
Health care companies rose more than the rest of the market. UnitedHealth Group gained 1 percent, the most in the Dow.
The Dow Jones industrial average increased 38 points, or 0.2 percent, to 18,039.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed three points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,108. The Nasdaq composite rose five points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,082.
The price of crude oil fell 66 cents to $60.77 a barrel in New York.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.38 percent, down sharply from the day before.