Markets rallied on strong retail sales and merger activity, pushing the S&P 500 to its largest gain this year. The Nasdaq also jumped as tech stocks outperformed. A spate of bank earnings will be closely watched this week with financials expected to carry the bulk of earnings growth this reporting season. Stocks yesterday slumped over valuation concerns which still remain after gains of 26% for the broader market last year while further Federal Reserve tapering could weigh on sentiment later this month. TheStreet's Jane Searle reports from the NYSE.