* Tech shares rise in light volume
* Retailers in focus on busy Black Friday shopping day
* Greece says IMF relaxes debt-cutting target
* Indexes up: Dow 0.9 pct, S&P 0.9 pct, Nasdaq 1.1 pct
By Leah Schnurr
NEW YORK, Nov 23 U.S. stocks rose for a fifth
day during a holiday-shortened, thin trading session on Friday,
as investors bid up large technology stocks which had fallen to
more attractive levels recently.
Market participants were also encouraged by signs of
progress in talks about releasing aid to debt-saddled Greece,
and piled into U.S. retail shares as the holiday shopping season
U.S. equity market trading will end early at 1:00 pm ET
(1800 GMT) after closing Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Trading volume was limited, with many investors still on leave.
Shares of big-cap technology companies climbed as investors
took advantage of the day's upward momentum to add to positions.
"Anyone that was on the sidelines waiting for a pullback
like the one we just had in some of the tech names, they're
looking for any glimpse of strong price action for 'permission'
to enter into those (stocks)," said Todd Salamone, director of
research at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati, Ohio
Microsoft helped lift the Nasdaq, gaining 2.4
percent to $27.61, while Oracle rose 1.8 percent to
Research in Motion surged on optimism about its
soon-to-be-launched BlackBerry 10 devices that will vie against
Apple's iPhone and Android-based smartphones. RIM was
up 13.8 percent at $11.68.
Greece said the International Monetary Fund had relaxed its
debt-cutting target for the country, suggesting lenders were
closer to a deal for a vital aid tranche to be paid. But other
sources involved in the talks cautioned the funding gap was far
bigger than Greece has suggested.
Euro zone finance ministers, the IMF and European Central
Bank (ECB) failed earlier this week to agree on how to shrivel
the country's debt to a sustainable level and will have a third
attempt at resolving the issue on Monday.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 117.37
points, or 0.91 percent, to 12,954.26. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index rose 12.60 points, or 0.91 percent, to 1,403.63.
The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 31.20 points, or 1.07
percent, to 2,957.75.
The S&P 500 looked set to break a two-week losing streak,
having gained more than 3 percent this week so far. Stocks had
tumbled earlier in the month on worries about the impact of tax
and spending changes to take effect from January, but hopes that
politicians will reach a deal to avert the so-called fiscal
cliff helped the market recoup some of those declines this week.
The index also broke back above the 1,400 level, which could
The retail sector rose as investors looked for signs of how
much consumers are spending as stores lured shoppers with Black
Friday deals and discounts.
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, kicks off the U.S.
Christmas shopping season for retailers and is often the busiest
shopping day of the year. The National Retail Federation expects
sales during the holiday season to grow 4.1 percent this year.
Wal-Mart rose 1.2 percent to $69.70, while J C
Penney gained 1.6 percent to $17.52.