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Stocks higher after a surge in retail sales and strong Citigroup earnings

Hot Stock Minute

Stocks booked healthy gains on Monday to start the week after a brutal selloff at the end of last week. The Dow (^DJI) gained 0.9%, while the beaten down Nasdaq (^IXIC) was up nearly 0.6%, and the broader S&P 500 (^GSPC) climbed 0.8% to start the week. Retail sales for March showed consumers returned to buying once the winter thaw began. And Citigroup (C) turned in better-than-expected results for the first quarter, which was especially welcome news after JPMorgan’s (JPM) disappointing results on Friday.

In other corporate news, Twitter (TWTR) said its executives have no plans to sell company stock any time in the near future. The company’s post-IPO lock-up period, during which executives and insiders are prevented from selling stock, expires on May 5th. CEO Dick Costolo and co-founders Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams have no plans to start selling stock even after the lock-up ends, according to Twitter. Twitter went public in November of last year at $26 a share. The stock reached a high of nearly $75 a share before returning to the $40 a share range where it now trades.

And Google (GOOGL) reportedly is considering putting safety first when it comes to search results. The Wall Street Journal reports that Google Executive Matt Cutts, who is the liaison between Google’s search team and website designers, is considering giving websites with encryption preference in Google’s search results. According to the report, the move would make it harder to spy on web users' activities. Google wields enormous influence over web developers by determining which sites get preference in its search algorithms. The Journal reports that Google currently has a list of 200 “signals” that determine search results. If encryption were added to the list, it would be an incentive for websites to add encryption.