Stocks gained for a fifth straight session on Friday and were on track to finish their best week in nearly a year following a stronger-than-expected manufacturing reading, helping to dispel some doubts about the recovery.
Stocks have rallied all week on the heels of stronger-than-expected economic news and over optimism that Greece's debt crisis would see a resolution.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped, led by 3M and Alcoa , after closing higher for the second quarter.
The S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq also turned higher. The Nasdaq is currently on pace for its best weekly gain in almost two years. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, tumbled to trade near 15.
All key S&P sectors gained, led by consumerdiscretionary and industrials.
On the economic front, the pace of growth in the manufacturing sector picked up for the first time in four months in June, according to the ISM report.
However, consumer sentiment worsened in Juneamid jitters about the economic outlook, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey. Meanwhile, construction spending declined for a sixth straight month during May to its lowest in more than a decade, according to the Commerce Department.
Investors are also looking ahead to second-quarter earnings, which kicks off in the second week of July with Alcoa scheduled to report on Jul. 11. They will pay close attention to corporate forecasts, given the weakness in the economy.
In company news, Apple and Research In Motion and a consortium of four other partner companies won the bidding process for bankrupt Nortel Networks' remaining patent portfolio for $4.5 billion, in a hotly contested auction that saw Google and Intel lose out.
Meanwhile, RIM agreed to study a split of its co-chair and co-chief executive roles.
GM edged higher after the automaker said sales climbed 10.5 percentin June, but lower than estimates. Rivals Ford and Toyota , among others, are also expected to report throughout the day.
Oil prices slippedafter China's factory output grew at its slowest pace in 28 months and as the dollar strengthened. U.S. light, sweet crude traded near $94 a barrel, while London Brent crude fell near $111. Meanwhile, gold tumbled more than 1 percentto a six-week low near $1,480 an ounce.
Dendreon gained after U.S. regulators said the Medicare and Medicaid federal health insurance programs will fully cover Provenge, the drugmaker's
Oshkosh jumped after billionaire investor Carl Icahn said he wants to meet with the specialty truck maker's management to discuss enhancing shareholder value.
On the earnings front, Darden Restaurants slipped even after the parent company of Olive Garden reported earnings that met expectations.
Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is considering stepping down later this year, but will not make a decision until contentious negotiations over the debt ceiling are completed.
European shares hit a one-month closing highto record their best week in 10 months.
Coming Up Next Week:
MONDAY: All markets closed for Independence Day
TUESDAY: Factory orders
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage applications, Challenger job-cut report, ADP employment report, ISM non-mfg index, Obama townhall on economy, NYSE shareholders vote on DB merger
THURSDAY: Jobless claims, oil inventories, chain-store sales
FRIDAY: Non-farm payroll, wholesale trade, consumer credit
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