PLAYING DEFENSE: Consumer staples and health care stocks led the market due in part to concerns that high gas prices will erode consumer spending and cut into corporate earnings. Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Kraft Foods were among the day's biggest gainers
NOT GOOD ENOUGH: The Labor Department said applications for unemployment benefits fell last week to 434,000, slightly less than what economists expected. That report contributed to early losses in the market.
THE INDEXES: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 65.89 points to close at 12,695.92. The S&P 500 index rose 6.57 to 1,348.65. The Nasdaq added 17.98 to 2,863.04.