Stocks are showing modest gains in early trading on Friday. Strong consumer sentiment data has helped the market extend a rally that began the previous day.
The Dow has climbed 16.43 points, or 0.1 percent, to reach 13,266.54. The Nasdaq is higher by 2.25 points, or 0.1 percent, to hit 3,065.06. The S&P 500 has advanced less than a point to 1,416.41.
New results from a closely watched survey showed that consumer attitudes have improved in August, rising to its highest level in three months. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index advanced to 73.6 from a reading of 72.3 last month.
The result topped the figure predicted by economists.
The early advance is building on a gain seen during Thursday's trading, when stocks shook off the doldrums of the previous few days. There had been a sideways move through the early part of the week, as traders digested the latest round of economic data.
In corporate news, retailer Gap revealed earnings for the second quarter that rose 29 percent from last year and topped the amount analysts had predicted. The company also raised its forecast.
Shares of the company are up $1.58, or 4.6 percent, to reach $35.92
Ann Inc. is another retailer showing strength in the early going. The owner of the Ann Taylor chain of women's clothing stores beat expectations with its quarterly profit and issued a strong outlook.
Shares of Ann are up $5.17, or 18.4 percent, to reach $33.31.
Looking overseas, European stocks are showing gains. France and the U.K. are up about 0.2 percent. Germany is showing a gain of 0.3 percent.
Asian stocks have finished today's trading with gains. Japan advanced 0.8 percent. Hong Kong also rallied 0.8 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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