U.S. stocks turn positive on Friday amid signs of stabilization in European debt and better-than- expected data, with all three major indexes turning positive.
Italy's Senate approved a budget bill on Friday, which cleared the way for Prime Minister Berlusconi to resign. The bill was also expected to pass the lower chamber of the parliament on Saturday.
The news helped boost investors' confidence in the country while the yield on the 10-year Italian government bond dropped to 6.45 percent. The yield reached 7.25 percent on Wednesday, the highest since 1997.
On the economic front, the preliminary Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index jumped to 64.2 in November from 60.9 in October, which suggests that U.S. consumers were confident about the economy.
Meanwhile, investors kept a close watch on the fourth round of banking stress test.
The Federal Reserve will conduct the stress tests in the coming weeks on large U.S. banks, aiming to find out whether the banks can withstand a recession.
Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen said the tests were necessary as the U.S. economy and financial markets had downside risks, due to the ongoing European debt crisis.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 259.89 points, or 2.19 percent, to 12,153.68. The Standard & Poor's 500 was up 24.16 points, or 1.95 percent, to 1,263.85. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 53.60 points, or 2.04 percent, to 2,678.75.
As for dollars, the U.S. dollar fell against major currencies in late New York trading on Friday as Italy passed austerity plan and U.S. consumer sentiment in November rallied.
Meanwhile, in the oil market, crude prices rose on Friday as Italy's senate approved the economic reform plan, easing concerns about European debt crisis contagion. For the week, crude registered the third consecutive weekly gains.
Light, sweet crude for December delivery gained 1.21 dollars, or 1.24 percent to settle at 98.99 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For this week, it rose 4.73 dollars, or 5.02 percent.
In London, Brent crude for December delivery climbed 45 cents, or 0.40 percent to close at 114.16 dollars a barrel. For this week, it ended 2.19 dollars higher, or 1.96 percent. It was also its third straight weekly gain.