The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose on Friday for its first daily gain in four sessions after the release of strong U.S. consumer data to end a volatile week.
The major averages were broadly higher for most of the session. However, they gave up most of their gains in the final hour of trading as Big Tech shares sold off.
Both Dow and the S&P 500 notched their third straight weekly gain and the Nasdaq posted a four-week winning streak.
U.S. retail sales jumped 1.9% in September, easily topping a Dow Jones estimate of 0.7%, according to data released by the Commerce Department. 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.
Boeing shares led the Dow higher, rising 1.9% after Europe's aviation regulator said Boeing's 737 Max jet is safe to fly again. Meanwhile, Pfizer jumped 3.8% 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. Meanwhile, Amazon shares dipped 1.9% amid concerns over the sales from company's Prime Day event.
Health care and utilities were the best-performing sector in the S&P 500, jumping nearly more than 1% each.
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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