Wall St. boosted by Nike, FedEx and consumer sentiment

STORY: Wall Street’s main indexes on Wednesday posted their biggest daily gains for December so far, lifted by upbeat earnings from at least two corporate giants and a jump in consumer confidence.

The Dow closed up 1.6%, while the S&P and Nasdaq each gained about one-and-a-half percent.

U.S. consumer confidence rose to an eight-month high in December as inflation retreated and the labor market remained strong.

Ross Mayfield is investment strategy analyst at Baird.

“I think if there's one thing kind of holding the economy together - the U.S. economy and maybe even the global economy - it's the resilience of the U.S. consumer. And to the extent that the consumer is kind of perking up a little bit at a time when you would expect retail sales to be coming down, at a time when you think inflation might finally start to weigh on the consumer, they’re continuing to show resilience. [FLASH] And I think that data point today could be providing a little bit of juice to the markets.”

And speaking of that consumer resilience, Nike shares soared 12% after beating profit expectations for its second quarter on strong holiday demand from North American shoppers.

And FedEx - which sparked a market selloff in September after pulling financial forecasts - provided financial guidance and announced plans for $1 billion in cost cuts, sending its shares up more than 3.4%.

Still, Wednesday's data also showed that U.S. existing home sales in November slumped for the 10th month in a row to a 2-1/2-year low as the housing market was hurt by higher mortgage rates. But the data may be fueling investor hope that the Fed could ease up soon on its tightening monetary policy.