Oil issues continued to advance after yesterday's rally, as the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was above the 9800 level for the first time ever.

Oil stocks jumped thanks to a continuing rise in crude oil prices which have risen lately on expectations of

OPEC

output cuts.

Today Ali al-Naimi, the Saudi Arabian oil minister, said he expects an agreement on "substantial" oil output cuts soon,

Reuters

reported. The oil minister said further discussions would be needed, but he also said he hoped for a deal "soon," the news agency reported. Naimi made the comments in Amsterdam, where he is meeting with oil ministers from Iran, Venezuela, Algeria and officials from non-OPEC countries, the report said.

The

Chicago Board Options Exchange Oil Index

was up 1%. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index

was also up 1% after jumping more than 11% yesterday.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was up 55 to 9828.

Chevron

(CHV)

was up 2 1/16 to 85 5/16, the biggest boost to the Dow.

The

S&P 500

was up 7 to 1294, climbing further into record territory. The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was up 17 to 2423. The small-cap

Russell 2000

up 1 to 403.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was up 7 to 595.

TheStreet.com E-Commerce Index

was up 2 to 111.

The 30-year Treasury bond was down 4/32 to 95 15/32, yielding 5.56%.

On the economic front, the

Commerce Department

reported that

retail sales

rose 0.9% in February. Retail sales, excluding autos, rose 0.2%.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

, advancers were beating decliners 1,578 to 996 on 236 million shares. On the

Nasdaq Stock Market

, winners were beating losers 1,664 to 1,355 on 291 million shares.

On the NYSE, 53 issues had set new 52-week highs while 36 had touched new lows. On the Nasdaq, 63 issues had set new highs while new lows totaled 26.

On the Nasdaq,

Brightpoint

(CELL)

was most active, with 16 million shares changing hands. It was down 6 15/16, or 53%, to 6 1/8. The company yesterday warned it sees a break-even first quarter, excluding an accounting charge. The

First Call

11-analyst outlook called for earnings of 22 cents a share vs. the year-ago 16 cents. Today, the stock was downgraded by several Wall Street firms.

On the Big Board,

Compaq

(CPQ)

was most active, with 8 million shares changing hands. It was flat at 31 9/16.

9:57 a.m.: Stocks Rise amid Climb in Retail Sales

Stocks were higher in the early going, while overall

retail sales

rose 0.9% in February.

Retail sales, excluding autos, rose 0.2%.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was up 35 to 9808. The

S&P 500

was up 4 to 1291.

The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was up 14 to 2420. The

Russell 2000

was up 1 to 402.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

was up 7 to 595.

TheStreet.com E-Commerce Index

was up 3 to 112.

The 30-year Treasury bond was down 10/32 to 95 9/32, yielding 5.58%, in the wake of the retail sales report.

Most Up at Open -- NYSE

BP Amoco (BPA) , up 4 7/8 to 93 1/8

: The oil company was higher thanks to stronger oil prices.

Most Up at Open -- Nasdaq

VerticalNet (VERT) , up 4 3/4 to 101

.

Most Down at Open -- NYSE

Nokia (NOKA) , down 2 5/16 to 148 1/8

.

Most Down at Open -- Nasdaq

InfoSpace.com (INSP) - Get Report, down 11 15/16 to 73

: The company yesterday filed with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

a registration to sell up to 2.8 million shares.