U.S. stocks rallied on Friday, rebounding to halt a brutal bout of losses, as investors cheered upbeat numbers on consumer spending and a surge in the price of oil.
"I would attribute it to nothing more than the stocks have been pushed down relentlessly for the past two weeks," said Paul Nolte, senior vice president, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management. "I don't take it as more than a bounce. And, stocks and energy are intertwined."
At 3:32 p.m. Eastern, the Dow industrials (JPM) were up 290 points, or 1.9 percent, at 15,950, with bank shares leading blue-chip gains. The S&P 500 (SPX) gained 33 points, or 1.8 percent, to 1,861. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) rose 63 points, or 1.5 percent, to 4,330.
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) jumped nearly 8 percent in the wake of news that CEO Jamie Dimon had spent a year's salary to purchase shares of his bank. Dimon spent $26.6 million to buy 500,000 shares, bring his total to 6.75 million shares, according to a regulatory filing.
"At least [Dimon] is putting his money where his mouth is. I don't attribute that to added confidence, he already owned four or five percent," said Nolte. "The banks as a whole are very inexpensive, but they are also subject to an environment that's negative for interest rates, where it's tough for banks to raise money."
Retail sales increased 0.2 percent in January, marking a third consecutive month of gains, as the Commerce Department revised the prior month that had been initially reported as a drop.
"Notwithstanding a pretty ugly month in the markets, the prospect of better wage growth seemed to help lift retail sales," Peter Boockvar, managing director and chief market analyst at the Lindsey Group, emailed. "With weakness seen in other areas of the U.S. economy, the consumer is what is keeping us from a recession."
Separately, a preliminary index from the University of Michigan had consumer sentiment declining to a four-month low, with Wall Street losses and a slowing global economy hitting Americans' perceptions.
Prices of U.S. crude rallied off a 12-year low, surging nearly 10 percent in the wake of statements from the United Arab Emirates' energy minister indicating OPEC would discuss reduced production. Oil futures were lately up $2.81 at $29.02 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.