U.S. stocks rose on Friday as robust commentary from some retailers reinforced hopes of an uptick in consumer spending in the holiday season, even as an early November gauge of consumer confidence fell.
Department store operator JC Penney Co Inc
Data from the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, however, showed U.S. consumer confidence fell to its weakest level in three months amid grim expectations for job and income prospects.
When we get depressed, we go shopping, said Jeff Kleintop, chief market strategist at LPL Financial in Boston. People certainly feel poorly about their current financial position, but that hasn't kept them from believing in some better growth over the next year.
Kleintop said the rise in the unemployment rate above 10 percent was likely worrying consumers but said surprisingly strong holiday spending could lift stocks toward the end of the year.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 81.62 points, or 0.80 percent, to 10,279.09. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 6.77 points, or 0.62 percent, to 1,094.01. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 11.95 points, or 0.56 percent, to 2,160.97.
The U.S. dollar <.DXY>, pressured by a surprise jump in the U.S. trade deficit, resumed its decline against other currencies, supporting stocks a day after a rebound in the greenback helped end the Dow's six-day winning streak.
Optimism in retail spending made the S&P consumer discretionary index <.GSDP> the top sector in the broad S&P 500. The S&P's index of six leading U.S. department <.15GSPRETD> stores rose 1.6 percent.
JC Penney, part of the department store index, rose 5.3 percent to $30.94 as investors welcomed its outlook.
Abercrombie & Fitch climbed 7.5 percent to $39.50 as earnings topped Wall Street's view. For more on the earnings of these companies, see [ID:nN13456730] and
The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers said its preliminary index of sentiment for November fell to 66.0, the lowest since August, from 70.6 in October. This was well below economists' median expectation of a reading of 71.0, according to a Reuters poll.
The U.S. trade deficit widened in September by an unexpectedly large 18.2 percent, the most in more than 10 years, as oil prices rose for the seventh straight month and imports from China jumped, a U.S. government report showed on Friday.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)