Consumer Confidence, Energy Shares Boost Stocks

Stocks rose Friday as a jump in consumer confidence boosted blue chips, while soaring oil prices fueled energy-related shares.

The Dow Jones industrial average (search) ended up 44.42 points, or 0.42 percent, at 10,623.07. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (search) closed higher by 6.00 points, or 0.50 percent, at 1,216.96. The technology-laced Nasdaq Composite Index (search) edged up a mere 0.96 of a point, or 0.05 percent, to finish at 2,090.11.

For the week, the Dow was up 1.05 percent, the S&P 500 rose 1.57 percent and the Nasdaq climbed 1.31 percent.

Only the S&P 500 is up for the year, with a slim gain of 0.42 percent, while the Dow is down 1.48 percent, and the Nasdaq is down 3.92 percent.

Wall Street shrugged as crude oil futures hit an all-time high of $58.60 per barrel, before settling at $58.47, up $1.89, on the New York Mercantile Exchange (search). An increase in demand and worries about global refining capacity drew heightened speculation in the oil market.

But some analysts said rising oil prices weren't cause for alarm on Wall Street, as higher energy costs haven't made a dent in corporate profits.

"Companies can make money, and plenty of it, with oil at these levels," said Scott Wren, senior equity strategist at A.G. Edwards & Sons. "We've had oil near these levels for nearly two quarters and companies have continued to knock the ball out of the park, beating consensus earnings estimates."

"Oil up a buck-and-a-half is helping the energy stocks," said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co., in an interview before the oil futures trading session ended.

Stock investors jumped on the commodities bandwagon, snapping up Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and rival oil company ConocoPhillips (COP) , which helped push the broad S&P 500 into positive territory for the year, and Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), which gave the biggest lift to the blue-chip Dow.

Exxon Mobil, the world's biggest publicly traded oil company, rose 1.3 percent to $60.89 and ConocoPhillips gained 3.6 percent to $60.68, after U.S. oil futures hit a fresh intraday record at $58.60 a barrel.

Caterpillar rose almost 2 percent to $100.20, as the heavy equipment maker benefited from the boom in mining and metals prices. Copper futures hit a record in London and repeatedly set 16-year highs in New York.

In another positive for the oil sector, U.S. refiner Valero Energy Corp. (VLO) rose 3 percent to $79.25 after it forecast better-than-expected second-quarter earnings.

It was a "quadruple witching day" on Wall street -- the quarterly expiration of four different types of June futures and options contracts -- which can lead to greater volume and volatility as investors adjust or exercise their derivative positions at the last minute.

The University of Michigan (search) consumer sentiment index for early June roe to 94.8, market sources said, well ahead of May's 86.9 and higher than analysts had expected.

"Great number -- I think that was a big positive," said John Hughes, managing director at Epiphany Equity Research.

"What's driving this whole economy in the U.S. is the consumer, and it's good that those numbers are back up, showing some confidence from the consumer. That also bodes well for retail stocks."

In other economic news, the U.S. current account deficit widened more than expected in the first quarter to a record $195.1 billion, reflecting robust imports.

Alcoa Inc. (AA), the world's largest aluminum producer and another Dow component, rose 1.2 percent, or 32 cents, to $28.25 as aluminum prices stayed at lofty levels.

On the Nasdaq, Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc. (MLNM) jumped nearly 14 percent, or $1.14, to $9.40 against a backdrop of speculation that the company could be a takeover candidate, analysts said.

On Thursday, Millennium said the New England Journal of Medicine published positive reports on two of its products, an oncology drug, Velcade, and MLN02, an investigative treatment for inflammatory bowel diseases.

The NYSE's top percentage gainer was CRT Properties (CRO), up 16 percent at $27.94, after real estate fund DRA Advisors said it would buy CRT Properties for $27.80 a share, a 15.4 premium above CRT's closing stock price on Thursday.

Among decliners, Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE) weighed on the Nasdaq, sliding 3.3 percent, or $1.07, to $31.34, a day after the company provided an outlook that was not as aggressive as investors had hoped.

Guidant Corp. (GDT) said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will recall more than 38,000 of its implanted cardiac defibrillators because of potential malfunctions. Its stock dropped $1.20 to $72.46. Shares in Johnson & Johnson, which has agreed to purchase the company in a deal awaiting regulatory approval, rose 26 cents to $66.56.

Bank of America Corp. (BAC) said it reached a $3 billion deal to buy a 9 percent stake in China Construction Bank. The deal would be the largest single purchase of stock in a Chinese bank by a foreign financial institution. Bank of America added 21 cents to $46.64.

Electronics retailer Circuit City Stores Inc. (CC) was down 72 cents at $16.93 after the company reported a wider-than expected first-quarter loss.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies was up 0.16, or 0.02 percent, at 644.19.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average closed 0.86 percent higher. Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.65 percent, Germany's DAX index was up 0.54 percent, and France's CAC-40 was up 0.85 percent.

Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.