Stocks rose on Friday as mildly upbeat retail sales data offset a weak reading on consumer sentiment, with the S&P on course to notch up a second winning day.
The market came off highs in a session that saw most of the S&P sectors up at midmorning.
A rally in Europe and another strong outlook from a technology company also helped boost stocks, though trading was still volatile.
U.S. consumer sentiment worsened in early August, falling to its lowest level since 1980, while retail sales, excluding autos, were better than forecasts.
"This market is all about traders, and they're reacting to the information at hand," said Rich Ilczyszyn, senior market strategist with MF Global in Chicago. "We need to see the dust settle before we start seeing a trend, and this sentiment number is just more dust."
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 113.15 points, or 1.02 percent, at 11,256.46. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 8.40 points, or 0.72 percent, at 1,181.04. The Nasdaq Composite Index put on 13.84 points, or 0.56 percent, at 2,506.52.
If the S&P 500 ends higher, it will be the index's first two-day streak since July 21-22. It has fallen for 11 of the past 14 days.
European shares were up 2.4 percent following a short-selling ban on financial shares by France, Italy, Spain and Belgium and European Central Bank data easing fears some banks faced liquidity issues.
Nvidia Corp was up 1 percent to $13.55 a day after it forecast a larger-than-expected jump in quarterly revenue late Thursday. The outlook came after similarly bullish comments from Cisco Systems Inc on Wednesday.
J.C. Penney Co Inc was down 3 percent to $26.04 after it forecast weaker-than-expected third-quarter earnings and further erosion in its gross margin.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc hired UBS AG to advise on a potential purchase of Carrefour SA's Brazilian unit, a source said. The Dow component slid 0.4 percent to $49.55.