"But most of the economic reports are coming in better than people thought," Paulsen said. "If you only paid attention to the bond market over the past few years, you'd think the world was going to end. Not the stock market. Which one was right?"
Before the market opened Friday, the government reported that builders started work on more houses in April, as U.S. construction surged to its highest pace in six months. Nearly all of that increase, however, came from new apartment buildings, a sign that Americans are still struggling to buy single-family homes.
Nordstrom surged $9.06, or 15 percent, to $70.55, the biggest gain in the S&P 500. The department store chain reported higher quarterly profits than analysts had expected late Thursday, as better sales at its discount Rack stores boosted results.
J.C. Penney surged $1.36, or 16 percent, to $9.73. Rising sales helped the retailer turn in better results than analysts expected late Thursday. Sales at stores open at least a year — a key gauge of a chain's health — increased more than 6 percent in its first quarter.