AP wire

Stocks extend record highs...Solid shopping...Pickens closes energy fund

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NEW YORK (AP) — Rising retailers are pushing stocks further into record territory on Wall Street. The S&P 500 is on pace to close out its seventh week of gains in the last eight. Bond yields rose following a report that inflation rose last month.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers shopped at stores and online outlets at a solid pace in December, closing out a healthy holiday season for retailers. The Commerce Department says retail sales rose 0.4 percent last month, after a 0.9 percent surge in November. Last year, retail sales rose 4.2 percent, the most in three years. Strong holiday shopping should lift economic growth in the final three months of last year. Americans have been more confident about the economy and are more willing to spend. The unemployment rate is at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent.

NEW YORK (AP) — The nation's largest retail trade group says holiday spending rose a better-than-expected 5.5 percent, the strongest gain since the Great Recession. The National Retail Federation says holiday sales reached $691.9 billion as shoppers stepped up their spending in the wake of a better economy. The results beat the group's original growth projections of 3.6 percent to 4 percent. Online shopping, which is included in the results, increased 11.5 percent.

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens is closing his Dallas energy-focused hedge fund after what he describes as "one hell of a roller coaster ride." In a statement published on his LinkedIn page, the 89-year-old Pickens says that "it's no secret the past year has not been good to me, from a health perspective or a financial one." Pickens is recovering from a series of strokes and a fall last year. Slumping oil and natural gas prices knocked him off Forbes magazine's rich list in 2013.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. regulators have approved the first drug aimed at women with advanced breast cancers caused by an inherited flawed gene. The Food and Drug Administration approved AstraZeneca PLC's Lynparza (lihn-PAHR'zah) for patients with inherited BRCA gene mutations who have undergone chemotherapy. It's the first in a fairly new class of medicines for ovarian cancer called PARP inhibitors to also win approval for treating breast cancer.

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