* Consumer sentiment at highest in 5 years, inventories up
* JCPenney shares slide after results
* Obama to speak about "fiscal cliff" later on Friday
* Indexes up: Dow 0.2 pct, S&P 0.5 pct, Nasdaq 0.6 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Nov 9 U.S. stocks bounced higher on
Friday as buyers stepped in following two days of steep losses
after data showed confidence among U.S. consumers and wholesale
business inventories were stronger than expected.
U.S. consumer sentiment rose to its highest level in more
than five years in November, according to the Thomson
Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of sentiment,
indicating Americans felt more optimistic about employment
prospects and the outlook for the overall economy.
Still, markets remained concern about the widening euro zone
crisis and the looming "fiscal cliff."
President Barack Obama, re-elected three days ago, is
expected to make a statement in the White House about the
looming tax increases and government spending cuts.
The so-called fiscal cliff would begin early next year and
unless Congress acts to change the law before then, experts warn
the economy could tip into recession.
Obama's statement is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. (1805 GMT).
The bounce-back in stocks is "a little bit of a realization
the selloff is overdone, but it doesn't mean it won't continue,"
said John Manley, chief equity strategist for Wells Fargo
Advantage Funds in New York.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 22.28 points,
or 0.17 percent, to 12,833.60. The S&P 500 gained 6.52
points, or 0.47 percent, to 1,384.03. The Nasdaq Composite
added 18.65 points, or 0.64 percent, to 2,914.24.
"The market is trying to send a very strong signal," Manley
said. "Any action that does not deal with the issues in front of
us will be punished by the market."
U.S. wholesale inventories rose in September by the most in
nine months, the government said, in the latest sign the economy
grew more than initially estimated in the third quarter.
Growth in Germany, Europe's largest economy, is likely to
weaken in the next two quarters as firms postpone investments
while France's central bank said it expected the euro zone's
second-largest economy to slip into recession as 2012 ends.
Greece is fast running out of cash while it awaits the next
tranche of its 130-billion euro international bailout that is
keeping it afloat, a deputy finance minister said on Friday.
The euro dipped below $1.27 to hit a fresh two-month
low against the U.S dollar.
"Europe's no picnic either," Manley said. "Greeks are having
an enormous problem with their debt and ... Europe is slowing
down no question about it."
The S&P 500 closed Thursday below its 200-day moving average
for the first time in five months, a bearish technical signal
that could keep stocks under pressure.
Groupon Inc's shares slumped 23 percent a day after
the daily deal company's results fell short of Wall Street's
J.C.Penney shares fell more than 8 percent after the
retailer reported a sharper-than-expected decline in quarterly
sales at stores open at least a year.
On another bullish note, Chinese data for October showed
infrastructure investment accelerated and factory output ran at
its fastest in five months.