Cost cutting helped two big retailers, Home Depot and Target, to beat estimates which together with strong economic data out of Germany eased risk premiums, feeding gains in equities and tripping losses for the dollar. The S&P 500 gained 1.0 percent to just under 990 while the dollar index fell 0.4 percent to end at 79.12. The combination of strong equities and the weak dollar gave a boost to commodities which benefit on signs of economic strength and on signs of inflation. Oil jumped about $3 to $69.
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