Stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) are hitting intraday highs this morning on an extremely positive report about October retail sales. The numbers could be just what investors needed to gain confidence about the upcoming holiday season.

All three major indexes – the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq – have hit new intraday highs for 2009. The move was sparked by growth in Japan, a rally in energy and a positive report from the retail sector. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke also spoke this morning to say that the central bank would monitor the value of the dollar as they keep rates at record lows. (Is it time to stick a fork in the dollar?). The SPDRs (NYSEArca: SPY) are trading up about 1.5% this morning.

October retail sales made a surprise 1.4% gain on the strength of auto sales, reports Martin Crutsinger for the Associated Press. While the report is just what the markets needed after dismal September figures, analysts are still concerned about consumer spending in general. After all, unemployment is still sky-high, incomes are stagnating and credit remains constricted. Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLP) is up about 1% this morning.

UPS (NYSE: UPS) is projecting that it will move about 22 million packages this year on its busiest day, Dec. 21. The volume is slightly higher than what it was in 2008. The number will match the previous record forecast, which was set in 2007, reports Mary Jane Credeur for Bloomberg. iShares Dow Jones Transportation Average (NYSEArca: IYT) is up about 2.5% this morning. (For more stories on transportation, visit our category).

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.