US STOCKS-Wall St gains 1 pct as economic data shows strength

* Jobless claims fall, consumer sentiment better

* Tiffany jumps on upbeat results

* Dow up 1.2 pct, S&P up 1.3 pct, Nasdaq up 1.8 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Nov 24 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) rose more than 1
percent on Wednesday as consumer and jobless claims data
reinforced the view the economic recovery is gaining steam.

The data, which boosted stocks after two days of losses,
bodes well for the holiday shopping season, analysts said.
That period traditionally kicks off on Black Friday, the day
after Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday.

The market gains also provided some bullish technical
signals, with the S&P 500 and Dow tracing a “double bottom”
from the lows of Nov 16 and 23, said Chris Burba, a short-term
market technician at Standard & Poor’s in New York.

“The rally today increases the odds of the cylical bull
market resuming from here,” he said.

Adding to the upbeat view for the consumer, upscale
jeweler Tiffany & Co (TIF.N: ) posted quarterly profit and sales
that handily beat estimates and forecast strong holiday sales.
Its stock shot up 4.7 percent to $61, while the S&P retail
index (.RLX: ) gained 2.4 percent.

Among the day’s data were government reports showing
weekly U.S. claims for unemployment benefits dropped to their
lowest level in more than two years and that consumer spending
rose in October.

A private survey found U.S. consumer sentiment rose in
November to its highest level since June. For details, see
[ID:nN24211131]

“If you look at the longer-term economic trends, consumer
spending is continuing to improve. Even the unemployment
situation, which everyone knows is very bad, is slowly, but
surely improving,” said Bryant Evans, investment advisor and
portfolio manager at Cozad Asset Management, in Champaign,
Illinois.

“There is some resilience that I think is reflected in the
consumer (sentiment) numbers,” said Evans, who is “overweight”
the consumer discretionary sector.

The S&P consumer discretionary index (.GSPD: ), which gained
1.8 percent, has climbed 22 percent since the start of the
year and is the best-performing sector in the S&P 500 for the
year to date.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) climbed 130.97
points, or 1.19 percent, to 11,167.34. The Standard & Poor’s
500 Index (.SPX: ) rose 15.01 points, or 1.27 percent, to
1,195.74. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) advanced 44.58
points, or 1.79 percent, to 2,539.53, after rising more than 2
percent.

Advancing stocks were beating decliners by about 5 to 1 on
the New York Stock Exchange, but volume was light, with many
participants out ahead of the holiday.

Stocks still are down roughly 3 percent since early
November after hitting a two-year high, with concerns about
European debt and worries about tensions on the Korean
Peninsula among the biggest drags on the market this week.

Other data showed weakness still remained in the economy.
New durable goods orders registered their largest drop in
nearly two years and sales of new U.S. single-family homes
fell unexpectedly in October.
(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Jan Paschal)

US STOCKS-Wall St gains 1 pct as economic data shows strength