Stocks rose on Friday as better-than-expected retail sales further relieved fears of another recession while optimism kept growing that the euro zone was making progress on a solution to its debt crisis.
Tech shares rallied after a blowout quarter from Google Inc
The benchmark S&P index is up 13 percent from the October 4th intraday low of 1,074.77, which had temporarily tipped it into bear market territory.
French and German officials are trying to put flesh on the bones of a crisis resolution plan in time for a European Union summit on October 23, overshadowing Standard and Poor's cut of Spain's credit rating, a move that underlined the challenges facing Europe's finance ministers.
Adding to the positive tone, U.S. Commerce Department data showed September retail sales rose 1.1 percent from a month earlier, beating the median forecast in a Reuters poll for a 0.7 percent rise. Sales growth during August was revised upward to 0.3 percent.
The foggy picture in Europe is becoming slightly more clear, with governments talking about some constructive things that could potentially stop the trouble, said David Smith, chief investment officer of Rockland Trust's Investment Management Group in Rockland, Massachusetts.
And with retail sales being the kind of data that lessens the possibility of another recession, people are feeling good.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 88.14 points, or 0.77 percent, at 11,566.27. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 11.10 points, or 0.92 percent, at 1,214.76. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 23.18 points, or 0.88 percent, at 2,643.42.
The recent rally since the S&P 500 briefly hit bear market territory on an intraday basis on October 4 has pushed the benchmark index near 1,220, a key resistance point it's been unable to cross since early August.
So long as things don't deteriorate, this is a good buying opportunity for investors, Smith said.
On the downside, Mattel Inc
Consumers remained pessimistic, despite the growth in retail spending. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary October reading on consumer sentiment slipped to 57.5 from 59.4 the month before. It fell short of the median forecast of 60.2 among economists polled by Reuters.
The Labor Department said overall import prices increased 0.3 percent, after falling 0.2 percent in August. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had expected prices to drop 0.3 percent last month.