Stocks eked out a gain Friday after struggling all day as investor weighed a better-than-expected reading on consumer sentiment against a disappointing retail-sales report.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose about 40 points, or 0.4 percent, after gaining 273.28, or almost 3 percent in the prior session.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also gained with the tech-heavy Nasdaq up more than 2 percent. The CBOE volatility index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, fell below 30.
Some experts attributed the selloff to investors taking cautious positions ahead of the weekend.
“Over the past 6 to 8 weeks, going into the weekend has been a dangerous prospect,” said Marc Pado, U.S. strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. “Things that have happened in Europe has come to light in the weekend and traders have learned that it’s better to get out of long positions before the weekend and reestablish them afterwards if nothing happens.”
Pado said investors should add to risk positions over the next few weeks ahead of the earnings season.
"Small, domestic technology stocks will be strong and I think that retail has a good chance for a solid bounce," he recommended.
Consumer sentiment jumped to 75.5in a mid-June reading, the highest since January 2008, according to the latest University of Michigan and Reuters survey. That's up from 73.6 at the end of May and better than the 74.5 expected.
The retail sector rebounded after the consumer sentiment reading.
Earlier, a government report showed retail sales fell 1.2 percent in May despite projections that they would increase 0.2 percent. It was the largest decline in eight months as consumers slashed spending on everything from cars to clothing. Building materials saw one of the biggest declines, falling 9.3 percent.
However, the decline was "very narrowly concentrated" and the report was "much more positive" than the headline figures suggest, Nomura economists wrote in a research note to clients.
"Overall recent retail sales reports show a cooling in consumer spending growth from Q1 but not outright retrenchment."
And business inventories rose 0.4 percent in April; economists had expected a 0.5-percent gain.
Oil prices slid under $75 a barrel amid renewed concernsabout the economic recovery in the world's largest energy consumer.
BP denied an earlier report from the UK times saying the firm is planning to defer their dividend payouts to investors. There's a rising backlash from the UKover the US's tough talk with the company which has slashed the company's market cap in half. An estimated 10 percent of pensions in the UK include the oil giant's stock.
BP shares continued to rise after gaining more than 12 percent in the previous session.