US Stocks Rise on Corporate Profits

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are climbing again on Friday, as encouraging reports on the economy and corporate profits help Wall Street firm itself following a shaky few weeks.

The S&P 500 was 0.7% higher in early trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 337 points, or 1%, at 35,249, as of 10:05 a.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was 0.3% higher.

Leading the way for the S&P 500 was freight deliverer J.B. Hunt Transport Services, which peeled to a 5% gain after reporting stronger profits for the summer than Wall Street expected. Goldman Sachs and Prologis each rose more than 2% on better-than-expected profit reports, while Alcoa surged 11.3% after it beat earnings expectations and announced a dividend payment and buyback of its stock.

They dovetailed with a report showing people spent much more at U.S. retailers last month than Wall Street expected. Sales at stores, restaurants and other retail establishments rose 0.7% from August instead of falling, as economists forecast.

Friday's gain follows up on a 1.7% jump for the S&P 500 Thursday, its best day since March, which was driven by stronger-than-expected earnings reports and encouraging data on the job market. The S&P 500 is on track for a 1.8% gain for the week and its best weekly performance since July.

It's a turnaround from a shaky few weeks, when the S&P 500 fell as much as 5.2% from its record set on Sept. 2. Worries about stubbornly high inflation, reduced support for markets from the Federal Reserve and a slowing economy helped to knock stock prices around. The S&P 500 is back within 1.5% of its all-time high.

Treasury yields also rose following the much stronger-than-expected report on retail sales. The yield on the 10-year note climbed to 1.57% from 1.52% late Thursday.

Stock markets overseas were also strong. In Europe, Geramny's SAX returned 0.7%, and France's CAC 40 gained 0.8%. The FTSE 100 in London rose 0.4%.

In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 added 1.8%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 1.5% and Seoul's Kospi advanced 0.9%.

The price of benchmark U.S. oil rose 1.3% to $82.37 per barrel, continuing a powerful run that has sent it up nearly 70% this year and fanned worries about high inflation. The global benchmark for crude also climbed 1%, though the price of U.S. natural gas fell back by 1.4%.