NEW YORK – U.S. stocks rose in light volume on Friday to achieve a second straight week of gains as upbeat retail news reinforced hopes for strong sales in the key holiday season
Consumer shares led the way, following results from media giant Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) and retailer Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF.N), and an upbeat view from JC Penney Co Inc (JCP.N).
The S&P consumer discretionary sector (.GSPD) rose 1.6 percent even as the Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary November Surveys of Consumers showed U.S. consumer confidence fell to its weakest level in three months amid grim expectations for job and income prospects.
"I think people were paying more attention to JC Penney and Abercrombie & Fitch as indicative examples of people's sentiment toward retail," said Michael James, senior trader at Wedbush Morgan in Los Angeles.
Disney shares rose 4.8 percent to $30.44 after it posted a larger-than-expected rise in both quarterly profit and revenue, as strong results from its cable business helped it overcome a disappointing stretch for its film studio.
"(Disney) is a big name that is very easy for large portfolio managers to continue to buy on good results, and I think you're seeing the fruits of that today," James said.
JC Penney said earnings for the holiday quarter could beat estimates, while clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch reported better-than-expected results, and their stocks led retailer shares higher.
Shares of JC Penney rose 6.2 percent to $31.21 and Abercrombie & Fitch climbed 10.7 percent to $40.68.
The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI) added 73.00 points, or 0.72 percent, to end at 0,270.47. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (.SPX) rose 6.24 points, or 0.57 percent, to 1,093.48. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC) rose 18.86 points, or 0.88 percent, to close 2,167.88.
For the week, the Dow rose 2.5 percent, while the S&P 500 advanced 2.3 percent, and the Nasdaq gained 2.6 percent.
A slide in the U.S. dollar was a factor for rising stocks, as investors took advantage of a cheaper greenback to invest in equities and commodities. The energy sector (.GSPE) of the S&P 500 outperformed the broader index.
The dollar weakened as the U.S. trade deficit widened in September by an unexpectedly large 18.2 percent, the most in more than 10 years.
Brokerage upgrades lifted shares of chipmaker Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) and Juniper Networks Inc (JNPR.N). Qualcomm rose 2.1 percent to $45.77 on the Nasdaq and Juniper shot up 5.9 percent to $26.15 on the New York Stock Exchange. The PHLX semiconductor index (.SOXX) rose 1.1 percent.
Volume was anemic on the New York Stock Exchange, with about 985 million shares changing hands, below last year's estimated daily average of 1.49 billion. On the Nasdaq, about 1.90 billion shares traded, below last year's daily average of 2.28 billion.
Advancing stocks outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a ratio of about 11 to 4, while on the Nasdaq, nearly two stocks rose for every stock that fell.