An unexpectedly large jump in consumer confidence fueled investor bullishness and helped lift retail stocks more than 4.2 percent in early afternoon trading Tuesday.

The S&P Retail Index jumped 13.23 points to 326.50 in the first hours of trading after the three-day holiday weekend while the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved ahead 204.85 points, or 2.5 percent, to 8,482.17.
The Conference Board reported that its monthly Consumer Confidence Index leaped to 54.9 in May from 40.8 in April. While the Present Situation Index component was up to 28.9 from 25.5 last month, the Expectations Index, which measures longer-term sentiment, skyrocketed to 72.3 from 51.0 in April. The May reading overall was the highest since last September, when it measured 61.4, while the Expectations number eclipsed its September 2008 counterpart by 10.8 points.
For complete coverage, see Wednesday’s WWD.