US stocks ended higher as investors continued to keep a close eye on global trade updates and digested a batch of encouraging economic data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hiked 211.22 points, or 0.82 percent, to 25,928.68 on Friday. The S&P 500 increased 18.96 points, or 0.67 percent, to 2,834.40. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 60.16 points, or 0.78 percent, to 7,729.32
Investor sentiment has got an uplift by a promising outlook on global trade on Friday. Shares of US manufacturing giant Caterpillar and Boeing, both sensitive to global trade, rose nearly 2.4 percent and nearly 1.9 percent respectively.
Shares of Lyft surged over 8.7 percent, after the US ride-hailing firm started trading on the public market on Friday, marking the first debut in a wave of heavyweight tech companies expected to go public this year.
Yet shares of Comcast fell nearly 1.1 percent, as Royal Bank of Canada downgraded the U.S. telecommunications conglomerate's stock to "sector perform" from "outperform," due to lower expectations for broadband and video subscribers.
Nine of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors traded higher around market close, with the health care sector up nearly 1.2 percent, leading the winners. On the economic front, consumer sentiment also improved for second straight month in March.
The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index rose to a reading of 98.4 from 93.8 in the prior month, slightly above the average of 97.2 recorded in the past 26 months, the university said in its latest survey released on Friday.
The March gain in the sentiment index was entirely due to households with incomes in the bottom two-thirds of the income distribution, while households with incomes in the top third fell, according to Richard Curtin, surveys of consumers chief economist.
Similarly, US consumer spending increased slightly in January. Consumer spending normally accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity. Personal consumption expenditures increased USD 8.6 billion, or 0.1 percent, the US Department of Commerce said Friday.
The growth was mainly contributed by rising spending for services, including financial services and insurance, which offset a decrease in spending in goods.