The Dow and S&P 500 closed up for a third straight session on Friday after several solid consumer-related reports reinforced investors' confidence in a steady recovery by the economy.
Government reports showing stronger-than-expected November retail sales and an unexpected rise in business inventories in October pointed to a recovery in consumer spending. A private survey also showed consumer sentiment improved in early December, lifting the S&P Retail index <.RLX> by 1.3 percent.
Today is a repeat of prior days, with economic data showing recession is bottoming out and recovery is here, said Rick Lake, portfolio manager of the Aston/Lake Partners LASSO Alternatives Fund in Greenwich, Connecticut.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 65.67 points, or 0.63 percent, at 10,471.50. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 4.06 points, or 0.37 percent, at 1,106.41. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 0.55 point, or 0.03 percent, at 2,190.31.
The day's gains came even as the dollar strengthened, suggesting an inverse correlation between equities and the greenback may be fading. The inverse correlation had partly reflected carry trades whereby investors borrow a currency cheaply in order to invest in higher-yielding assets.
For the week, the Dow was up 0.8 percent, the S&P was near flat and the Nasdaq shed 0.2 percent.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill aimed at safeguarding the financial system and warding off future crises. Bank of America
Mining stocks also advanced after JPMorgan lifted its price target on five companies in the sector, including Alcoa Inc
Alcoa shares surged 8.2 percent to $14.61.
But National Semiconductor
The Philadelphia semiconductor index <.SOXX> fell 1.0 percent.
An index of airline stocks <.XAL> advanced 6.3 percent, its largest move up since May 4, after executives at several carriers pointed to improved outlooks in 2010.
Delta Air Lines
United Technologies Corp
Volume was light on the New York Stock Exchange, with 1.02 billion shares changing hands, below last year's estimated daily average of 1.49 billion, while on the Nasdaq, about 1.77 billion shares traded, also below last year's daily average of 2.28 billion.
Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a ratio of 2 to 1, while on the Nasdaq, about 15 stocks rose for every 10 that fell.
(Editing by Kenneth Barry)