Stocks rose on Friday, on course to snap a six-session losing streak, as a buoyant start to the holiday shopping season helped offset fears about the euro zone's debt crisis after another leap in Italian bond yields.
Reinforcing what some see as recent signs of strength in the U.S. economy, shoppers stateside flocked to stores, which opened early to offer a jumpstart to Black Friday, the traditional beginning to the U.S. holiday shopping season. The S&P Retail index <.RLX> rose 0.4 percent.
Anecdotally it seems that Black Friday is off to a positive start, said Todd Salamone, director of research at Schaeffer's Investment Research.
Europe will continue to predominate, he said. We may have days when the U.S. market separates itself for whatever reason, but everything is about Europe right now.
Yields on Italy's debt approached recent highs that sparked a sell-off in world markets. Italy paid a record 6.5 percent to borrow money over six months on Friday, and its longer-term funding costs soared far above levels seen as sustainable for public finances.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 53.32 points, or 0.47 percent, to 11,310.87. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 6.47 points, or 0.56 percent, to 1,168.26. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 9.50 points, or 0.39 percent, to 2,469.58.
Friday's moves looked to steer indexes away from ending with a second consecutive week of losses. The S&P 500 had lost almost 4 percent this week and given back almost two-thirds of its gains in October, the market's best month in 20 years.
A European Union conference in Strasbourg produced little to ease the markets fears, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.
What they agreed to was not bickering in public, he said. The markets are going to continue to pressure the EU until they come up with a solution that is going to ease the crisis.
For many investors that means the European Central Bank printing euros to buy larger amounts of European bonds and for Germany to accept the issuance of euro bonds. Germany currently opposes both of those options.
U.S. stock markets, closed for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, will end trading on Friday at 1 p.m. The day after Thanksgiving is typically one of the lightest trading volume days of the year.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)