Stocks snapped their four-day losing streak Thursday as investors were encourage by some better-than-expected retail-sales reports. Bank, gold and retail stocks shares advanced.
"It's the belief the economy is in the recovery stage. What's rallying today are things associated with economic growth," Owen Fitzpatrick, head of U.S. Equity Group, Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management, told Reuters. "Granted, we're due for a pause, but the reality is we are in an economic recovery."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 63.94, or 0.7 percent, to close at 9,344.61. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq each gained 0.8 percent.
For sure, it was a wobbly session: The Dow crossed the zero mark 26 times.
Costco , Target and Gap were among the retailers that beat expectations.
Costco shares soared 8.6 percent, while Target gained 1.7 percent and Gap advanced 7.6 percent.
But it wasn't all rosy: Abercrombie and Fitch missed its target with a 29-percent drop in sales as teen retailers continued to get hammered. Family Dollar also missed its target. Both stocks declined.
Financials rebounded after taking a beating on Wednesday. Bank of America was one of the biggest gainers on the Dow, climbing 3.5 percent. Citigroup and Wells Fargo also posted solid gains.
CIT Group rose 5.6 percent and AIG jumped 10 percent.
Fannie Mae advanced 20 percent, while Freddie Mac gained 14 percent.
And gold stocks were shining once again as gold hit a six-month high of $995.80 a troy ounce.
Randgold Resources and Royal Gold added another 8 and 7 percent respectively, bringing their two-day total to nearly 20 percent.
"When you have such a large part of US population convinced we're running to hell in a handbasket with federal spending, you're going to have a large part of the population buying and taking possession of gold out of fearof what's going on," said Jim DiGeorgia, commodities analyst for Gold and Energy Advisor.