The Dow Jones Industrial Avergae rose on Friday for its first daily gain in four sessions as traders cheered strong U.S. consumer data to end a volatile week.
The Dow traded 150 points higher, or 0.5%. The S&P 500 gained 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite hovered around the flatline as Amazon shares slipped 1.2%. The Dow and the S&P 500 were on pace for their third straight weekly gain and the Nasdaq was headed for a four-week winning streak.
Boeing shares led the Dow higher, rising 2% after Europe’s aviation regulator said Boeing’s 737 Max jet is safe to fly again. Meanwhile, Pfizer jumped more than 3% after the company said it would apply for emergency use of its coronavirus vaccine as soon as it reaches certain safety milestones that it expects to have in late November.
Health care was the best-performing sector in the S&P 500, jumping nearly 1.5%. Utilities and industrials were also up more than 1%.
The Commerce Department said Friday that U.S. retail sales jumped 1.9% in September, easily topping a Dow Jones estimate of 0.7%. Excluding autos, sales were up 1.5%. That’s also better than a 0.4% estimate.
“The economy continues to show pockets of strength, but those pockets need to widen,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. “For those who still have their jobs, the economy has been healing.”
“The question is, if initial unemployment claims continue to rise, will we continue to see retail sales surprising to the upside,” Krosby added.
Wall Street was coming off its third consecutive daily decline amid uncertainty around further coronavirus stimulus as well as fears of a worsening pandemic around the world.
Lawmakers in Washington continued to send mix signals about progress toward a stimulus deal. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that the White House won’t let differences over funding targets for Covid-19 testing derail stimulus talks with top Democrats.
Later, President Donald Trump said that he would raise his offer for a stimulus package above his current level of $1.8 trillion. House Democrats have passed a $2.2 trillion bill.
Meanwhile, the U.K. government announced plans to impose tougher coronavirus restrictions on London, while the French government declared a public health state of emergency earlier this week amid a surge in cases. Germany has also announced new rules to curb the spread of the virus.
“Global equity markets continue to churn, caught between hopes for a better economic future, yet struggling with a still-unchecked pandemic and signs that the economic rebound is fading,” strategists at MRB Partners wrote in a note. “Unprecedented policy actions have supported economic activity and boosted risk asset prices, but are not sufficient to generate a self-reinforcing economic expansion.”
“The latter still awaits successful COVID-19 treatments and vaccines, and both had unfavorable news this week,” they added.
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