On the economic front, consumer sentiment retreated to 82.1 in August from 85.1 July, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's final reading on the overall index. Still, the final result topped an initial mid-month reading of 80.0 and exceeded economists' expectations for a final read of 80.5.
Meanwhile, consumer spending ticked up 0.1 percent in July, according to the Commerce Department. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a gain of 0.3 percent.
And business activity in the Midwest rose to 53.0 in August from 52.3 in July, according to the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago. A Reuters survey of economists on average expected a median reading of 53.0 in August versus the July figure of 52.3.
General Electric rose after the Wall Street Journal reported the conglomerate plans to spin off the U.S. consumer lending division of GE Capital.
Facebook climbed after Stifel raised its price target on the social-networking giant to $40 from $38.01.
Among earnings, Salesforce.com soared to lead the S&P 500 gainers after the cloud software company lifted its 2014 sales outlook after posting better-than-expected quarterly results. In addition, at least six brokerages boosted their price targets on the company.
Big Lots rose after the retailer reported earnings that topped earnings expectations, thanks to a strong uptick in same-store sales. Still, the company cut its full-year outlook.
In Asia, shares closed mostly higher on Friday, but Japan's Nikkei 225 erased previous gains to end down 0.5 percent, after rising as much as 1.2 percent in early trade on upbeat economic data.