"I think this is just a bit of a temporary rally and we'll see resumption of that decline. This rally is not going to be long lasting," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital.
Intel fell on the firm's lowering of its first quarter revenue outlook, noting weaker demand for business desktop PCs and that inventory levels are lower than expected. Microsoft also declined, as the second greatest laggard in the Dow.
U.S. business inventories were unchanged in January and further declines in sales pushed the number of months it would take to clear shelves to the highest since July 2009, which suggests a stock draw down in the months ahead.
Retail sales for February fell 0.6 percent, missing expectations of a slight gain.
"For the last 3 to 4 years, that first-quarter performance has been choppy in general," said Calvin Silva, senior retail specialist with Nasdaq's Advisory Services unit. "Online stores saw an increase. Not a silver lining but an example of how consumers will shift their preference based on their situation."
Retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services were unchanged after a 0.1 percent decline in January.
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The ex-auto figure is "still on the weak side, but not as weak as the headline numbers suggest," Cardillo said. The "drop in jobless claims basically is a return to normalcy after the winter months.
Weekly jobless claims fell more than expected to 289,000, below the prior week's 320,000.
"The employment picture is kind of setting up for some more optimism come summer time," Silva said, citing that winter weather might create pent-up demand for increased spending during the warmer months.
Import prices for February rose 0.4 percent, versus a revised decline of 3.1 percent in January. Export prices declined 0.1 percent, less than January's decline of 1.9 percent.
"I think the market is looking at the numbers and saying the economy is in good shape," said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman. "We're in the sixth to seventh year in the bull market. Earnings growth has begun to wear thin, so we'll need a boost besides (earnings). Consumer spending is the key."
Dollar General matched estimates with quarterly profit of $1.17 per share, though revenue was slightly below estimates.The discount retailer also initiated a quarterly dividend of 22 cents per share. However, the discount retailerforecast profit below estimates.
The retailer announced on Saturday plans to expand into Oregon, Maine and Rhode Island, taking its presence to 43 states.
Shake Shack, which recently went public, reported a fourth-quarter loss and said same-restaurant sales growth would slow this year.
Lumber Liquidators surged more than 10 percent after the company defended its products in a conference call on Thursday.
Alibaba will invest $200 million in Snapchat, as the mobile messaging company engages in another funding round.
Hewlett-Packard edged higher despite Barclays downgrading the firm to "equal weight" from "overweight," saying it may be hit harder by the slide in the euro than previously thought.
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"I do think this is a stock pickers' market because there are some parts that do better than others," said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman. We're going to "end the year higher with lots of volatility along the way."