Traders were encouraged by positive economic news from Germany and China, two engines of global growth. Technology stocks soared after a few weeks of selling. And early reports from retailers suggested strong consumer spending.
"Foot traffic appears heavier than we've seen in recent years, there are a lot of positive statements out of the companies themselves, and momentum appears to be strong," said JJ Kinahan, chief derivatives strategist at the brokerage TD Ameritrade.
Many stores opened earlier than ever this year, Kinahan said, allowing for earlier informal reports about their performance.
At the close of the abbreviated holiday trading session, the Nasdaq ended up 1.38 percent, at 2,966.85. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 172.79 points, to 13,009.69 -- the first time since Election Day that the Dow closed above 13,000.
The S&P 500 added 1.30 percent, to 1409.15. -- AP