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Stocks climb after Citigroup tops forecasts

NEW YORK – An upbeat start to a busy week of earnings pushed stocks higher Monday.

Citigroup Inc.’s better-than-expected results drove financial stocks higher, putting an end to a recent slide. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 36 points in midday trading.

Citigroup said fewer of its customers defaulted on loans, an encouraging sign that borrowers may be returning to financial health. Citi’s shares rose nearly 5 percent, lifting shares of other banks along with it including Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Bank shares had swooned last week as fallout spread from accusations that banks had improperly processed large amounts of foreclosures.

Investors will be turning their attention to corporate earnings this week as dozens of large companies report their results. Broad economic reports have been the main factor driving stock trading in recent months.

“Earnings will be at the forefront,” said Mike Schenk, vice president of economics and statistics at the Credit Union National Association. “Underlying that will be any information we get out of the consumer sector.”

Schenk said that the health of the consumer will likely be more apparent in earnings outlooks from consumer goods companies and Thursday’s weekly unemployment report.

Apple Inc.’s results, due out after the market closes Monday, will be seen as an indicator of how much appetite consumers have for new gadgets. The iPod and iPad have been popular this year even as shoppers cut back spending elsewhere.

The Dow rose 36.07, or 0.3 percent, to 11,098.13 in midday trading.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 1.69, or 0.1 percent, to 1,177.88, while the Nasdaq composite index fell 1.92, or 0.1 percent, to 2,466.85.

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