Stocks Rally, Led by Retailers, Financials

Stocks closed higher in a shortened session as the kickoff to the holiday shopping season lifted retail stocks, while signs of progress in a plan to relieve credit market strain helped major banking stocks.

Shares of JPMorgan Chase led the Dow higher. The bank, along with Bank of America and Citigroup , is spearheading an effort to raise billions of dollars for a new fund to ease jitters in the credit market, the Wall Street Journal reported.

U.S. financial markets were closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving, while on Wednesday stocks fell sharply on the latest signs of weakness in the credit market and housing sector. The market closed at 1 pm on Friday.

For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the week down 1.49 percent, but remains positive on the year by 4.16 percent. The Nasdaq Composite ended the week down 1.54 percent, but is still up 7.51 percent year-to-date. The S&P 500 lost 1.24 percent for the week but is up on the year by 1.58 percent.

"I think we're entitled to some sort of rebound. One piece of good news is that the banks are making progress with the rescue attempt" to help structured investment vehicles, said
Michael Metz, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer. "But I wouldn't read too much into it because it may be more a case of the sellers leaving early for the day."

E-Trade Financial was up sharply. CNBC's David Faber reported that the troubled online brokerage was holding talks with several potential buyers. Possible suitors include TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab .

Consumers, many with the day off from work, kicked off the holiday shopping season, some visiting stores before dawn. Chains refer to the day after Thanksgiving as "Black Friday"
because it once marked the day many retailers turned a profit and went into the black for the year.

Shares of JC Penney, which last week cut its forecast for the holiday season, were up. Target's stock also was up sharply.

Shares of Boeing rose after the chief executive of Airbus, Boeing's chief rival, said the weakness of the dollar is "life-threatening" for the European aircraft maker.

UAL , the parent of the No. 2 U.S. air carrier United Airlines, is interested in a possible merger, according to a BusinessWeek article citing industry experts.

Mortgage and bond insurers rose after two French financial institutions agreed to provide funds to bond insurer CIFG.

In other corporate news, wireless chip maker Broadcom said a federal judge affirmed a jury verdict that found rival Qualcomm infringed three Broadcom patents.