Stocks advanced on Friday on hopes that a weaker dollar would increase multinationals' profitability while Moody's reassuring comments eased some concerns about the U.S. credit rating.

Shares of McDonald's Corp gave the Dow its biggest boost. Shares of energy companies such as Chevron Corp also helped the broader market on bets that overseas demand would support energy prices.

Fears of a cut in the U.S. credit rating on Thursday helped drive down stocks, bonds and the dollar. Earlier Friday, the dollar hit its lowest level this year as investors fretted over the indebtedness of the United States and the outlook for the nation's credit rating.

But stock investors at least seemed to take a step back from those concerns on Friday. Moody's Investors Service said late Thursday it was comfortable with the AAA sovereign rating on the United States, though it said it is not guaranteed forever. At midday, President Barack Obama said he is not concerned about a possible change in the U.S. triple-A credit rating.

The complete lack of concern on the part of the White House regarding the credit rating of the United States has ... kind of allayed the fears of the market, said Peter Kenny, managing director of Knight Equity Markets in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 51.70 points, or 0.62 percent, at 8,343.83. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 4.59 points, or 0.52 percent, at 892.92. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 7.83 points, or 0.46 percent, at 1,703.08.

A weaker dollar makes some U.S. assets more appealing to some investors, and multinationals benefit when they convert overseas earnings into dollars.

McDonald's , up 3.3 percent at $57.59, topped the Dow's list of major advancers.

Chevron rose 0.4 percent to $64.71, while Exxon Mobil Corp shot up 1 percent to $69.13. They also ranked among the Dow's biggest boosts as U.S. crude oil futures prices held just above $61 a barrel.

Shares of Sears Holdings Corp

With the U.S. Memorial Day holiday weekend approaching and little economic data due, light trading volumes subjected the stock market to some volatility.

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Jan Paschal)