Stocks modestly higher after jobs, retail data

Another government report showed businesses reduced inventories for a 10th straight month in June, although total business sales posted the first increase in nearly a year.

Investors have sent stocks soaring the past few weeks as improving corporate profits and signs of life in the troubled housing industry gave the market hope that the economy is healing. The Fed's comments on Wednesday affirmed for investors that their recent bets had been warranted.

The S&P 500 index has risen 14.4% in little more than a month and 48.7% since it fell to a 12-year low in early March.

Treasurys rose higher after the successful auction of 30-year bonds. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, fell to 3.61% from 3.72% late Wednesday.

The dollar fell against other major currencies, while gold prices rose.

Light, sweet crude rose 95 cents to $71.11 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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