Dow Rises as Strong Retail Sales Suggest Consumer Remains Healthy – The Dow rallied Friday, as stronger retail sales data suggesting the U.S. consumer, the backbone of the economy, remains in good shape helped ease investor worries about a slowdown in the recovery.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.91%, or 259 points. The S&P 500 was  up 0.60%, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.40%.

The Commerce Department said Friday that retail sales rose 01.5% last month. That confounded economists’ forecast for a 0.5% rise. The retail sales control group – which has a larger impact on U.S. GDP –  rose 1.4%, topping expectations for a 0.2% increase. 

Some economists, however, warned the data could represent the “last hurrah” for the consumer heading toward the end of the year as income will likely decline amid a lack of stimulus.  

“September strength may have been the last hurrah for the consumer this year. With the back to school/work spending likely behind us, and disposable income set to contract sharply in Q3/Q4 without fresh fiscal stimulus, we’ll be lucky if consumption is flat in Q4,” Jefferies (NYSE:JEF) said in a note.

Despite little progress on stimulus talks, many believe that it is a matter of when rather than if further federal aid is coming, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggesting earlier this week that a fiscal package will be rolled out before January.

Utilities, industrials, and health care led the broader market higher, with the latter getting a boost from a rise in shares of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN) and Pfizer .

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) said it would apply for emergency U.S. approval of its Covid-19 vaccine it is developing with Germany’s BioNTech in the third week of November. Pfizer was up more than 3%, while Biontech Se (NASDAQ:BNTX) added nearly 4%.

The news helped restore some optimism over a Covid-19 vaccine after both Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE:LLY) and Johnson &

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