A surprising surge in U.S. retail spending in September helped push the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) higher on Friday. Total retail sales rose 1.9% in September compared to August, well ahead of the 0.8% gain expected by economists. The strongest categories included clothing, sporting goods, and motor vehicles. The Dow was up about 0.8% at 1:20 p.m. EDT.
Rising along with the Dow were Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and Boeing (NYSE: BA) stocks. Walmart got a boost from an analyst "buy" rating, and shares of Boeing surged after Europe's top aviation safety regulator called the 737 MAX safe to fly.