Friday turned out to be a fabulous day of trade for the US equity markets, with Wall Street ending the session near record closing levels, as traders remained optimistic about the earnings season after financial giants JPMorgan Chase (JPM), BlackRock (BLK) and Wells Fargo (WFC) all reported better than expected quarterly results. Sentiments also remained up-beat with Commerce Department showing retail sales coming in line with street estimates in the month of December. The Commerce Department said retail sales increased by 0.4 percent in December after climbing by an upwardly revised 0.9 percent in November. The street had expected retail sales to rise by 0.4 percent compared to the 0.8 percent increase originally reported for the previous month. Excluding auto sales, retail sales still rose by 0.4 percent in December after jumping by 1.3 percent in November. The increase in ex-auto sales also matched estimates.
Separately, a report from the Labor Department showed consumer prices rose by less than expected in December, reflecting a sharp pullback in energy prices. The Labor Department said its consumer price index inched up by 0.1 percent in December after climbing by 0.4 in November. Economists had expected prices to rise by 0.2 percent. Meanwhile, the report said core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy prices, increased by 0.3 percent in December after ticking up by 0.1 percent in November. Core prices had been expected to rise by 0.2 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 228.46 points or 0.89 percent to 25,803.19, the Nasdaq gained 49.29 points or 0.68 percent to 7,261.06, and the S&P 500 was up by 18.68 points or 0.67 percent to 2,786.24.