Stocks gained ground in today's trading. The Dow added 22 points to 12,471. The S&P rose 3 points to 1,296, while the Nasdaq surged 14 points.
- Now that the figures for the year are in, the nation's retailers enjoyed a record 2011 for sales. The Commerce Department says December saw just a modest gain of 0.1 percent.
- The Treasury Department says the federal deficit was lower in the first quarter of the 2012 budget year,
compared to the same period last year. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the government will run a $973 billion deficit for the entire 2012 budget year, which began on Oct. 1.
- Oil prices dropped below the $100-per-barrel mark for the first time this year. Benchmark crude ended the day down $1.77 at $99.10 per barrel in New York.
- Shares of Delta Air Lines rose after a report that the world's second-biggest airline is interested in bidding for American Airlines parent AMR Corp. The Wall Street Journal reports that Delta and buyout firm TPG were separately looking at AMR, which is in the early stages of reorganizing through the bankruptcy process.
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