* Consumer sentiment at 5-year high, inventories up sharply
* JCPenney shares slide after results
* Obama to speak about "fiscal cliff" later on Friday
* Dow up 0.5 pct, S&P 500 up 0.9 pct, Nasdaq up 1.1 pct
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Nov 9 U.S. stocks rebounded on Friday
after two days of steep losses as data showed U.S. consumer
sentiment and wholesale business inventories were stronger than
The S&P 500 fell 3.6 percent in the previous two sessions,
its worst two-day performance in slightly over a year, following
the U.S. election as investors shifted their focus back to the
looming "fiscal cliff" and the euro zone's debt crisis.
Positive economic data helped equities bounce. U.S. consumer
sentiment climbed to its highest level in more than five years
in November, while wholesale inventories rose in September by
the most in nine months.
Still, the fiscal cliff and the euro zone's debt crisis
remain on the worry list for equities and the global economy.
The fiscal cliff, a combination of government spending cuts
and tax increases set to go into effect early next year unless
Congress acts to change the law before then, could take an
estimated $600 billion out of the U.S. economy and push it into
"Clearly, taxes are going up, and that is something the
market doesn't like. There is concern the economy continues to
weaken, and there is not much left in the tank, in terms of
making corporate profitability better," said Stephen Massocca,
managing director of Wedbush Morgan in San Francisco.
"It's only natural we get a bounce today, but I don't know
that we are out of the woods yet."
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 62.90 points,
or 0.49 percent, to 12,874.22. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
rose 12.12 points, or 0.88 percent, to 1,389.63. The
Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 32.47 points, or 1.12
percent, to 2,928.05.
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner called on
President Barack Obama to lead the efforts to avert the fiscal
cliff, but stood by his opposition to any tax increases on the
While a comprehensive legislative agreement to avoid the
fiscal cliff was possible, the more likely scenario would be for
political leaders to find a temporary fix in order to buy time
until a new Congress and the re-elected president are sworn in
at the start of the new year.
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. Obama's
statement is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.(1805 GMT).
Growth in Germany, Europe's largest economy, is likely to
weaken in the next two quarters as companies postpone
investments while France's central bank said it expected the
euro zone's second-largest economy to slip into recession as
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.
The S&P 500 closed on 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 slid 27.2 percent to $2.85 a
day after the daily deal company's results fell short of Wall
The stock of J.C. Penney fell 6.6 percent to $20.26
and ranked as the S&P 500's biggest decliner after the retailer
reported a sharper-than-expected decline in quarterly sales at
stores open at least a year.
According to Thomson Reuters data through Friday, of the 449
companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings, 63.3
percent have topped analysts' expectations - slightly above the
62 percent average since 1994, but below the 67 percent beat
rate over the past four quarters.
But revenue results remain disappointing, with only 38.2
percent of companies topping expectations - well below the 62
percent average since 2002, and the 55 percent beat rate over
the past four quarters.