Stocks rose on Friday as reports pointing to steadying consumer demand supported optimism that the burgeoning economic recovery will be sustainable.

Consumer and small-cap stocks led shares higher after a series of stronger-than-anticipated reports lessened concerns that a double-dip recession is in store.

November U.S. retail sales rose more than forecast to post their largest advance since August, while a separate report showed consumer sentiment improved in early December.

It looks like the holiday season is going to be much better than we expected, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners in New York.

This bodes well for economic activity going forward. The numbers today certainly point to the right direction.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 38.84 points, or 0.37 percent, to 10,444.67. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> added 3.76 points, or 0.34 percent, to 1,106.11. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 3.86 points, or 0.18 percent, to 2,194.72.

United Technologies Corp rose 1.8 percent at $69.13, leading the Dow after the diversified manufacturer said it expects profits to rise about 10 percent next year as heavy cost-cutting pays off.

(Additional reporting by Ellis Mnyandu; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)