Capital goods, technology and retail were the strongest sector performers. Boeing ( BA), DuPont ( DD), Caterpillar ( CAT) and United Technologies ( AXP) were the biggest percentage gainers within the Dow while Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ), Verizon ( VZ) and Procter & Gamble ( PG) were the only blue chips to finish in negative territory. "The real kicker of the day has been the jobless claims number, which came down rather sharply, and consumer sentiment showed improvement," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners. "The fact that Ireland released its austerity plan is beginning to ease some of the concern surrounding the European debt crisis. The dollar is a little bit lower, causing less risk aversion." The
Consumer sentiment jumped to 71.6 in November, according to the University of Michigan's sentiment index. The level easily exceeded the 69.4 reading that economists had been expecting and improved from a preliminary reading of 69.3. October's consumer sentiment reading was 67.7. The Department of Commerce said personal incomes rose 0.5% in October after remaining flat in the previous month, and personal spending increased 0.4% from September's uptick of 0.3%. The growth was in line with expectations. The durable goods orders report and new home sales data was less encouraging.