"Investors are probably positioning with a bit of a risk-off mindset going into those two (economic data reports) tomorrow", said Matt Miskin, market strategist at John Hancock Investments. As bond yields rise, investors are likely to jump out of stocks and into bonds.
Among the biggest movers was sportswear retailer Under Armour, up more than 17.36 per cent on strong quarterly sales, and AmerisourceBergen, up 9.30 per cent after the Wall Street Journal reported Walgreens was seeking to buy out the drug distributor.
Regarding other stocks, S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 by 12.25 points, Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were up 139 points, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 by 33.25 points.
The Dow Jones closed 1 per cent higher, marking its fourth straight day of gains.
The January decline, following no change in December, was the largest setback since a 0.5 percent fall in February of past year, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.
Higher yields, a more aggressive Fed and a growing budget deficit loom as longer-term threats to the economy. Inflation rose 2.1 percent from a year earlier and core prices increased 1.8 percent.
If CPI runs hotter than projection, it may fuel concerns that the Fed may raise interest rates even faster. But it hurt high-dividend companies like utility and phone companies.
In the weird and wonderful world of stocks, there is a battle between where investors put their money. The Commerce Department also lowered its estimate for spending in December. Excluding autos, retail sales would have been flat in January and a number of key sectors from furniture to building supplies suffered declines.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.2 percent and Seoul's Kospi rose 0.9 percent.
"In general, the report indicated that the holiday shopping season was less vigorous than previously believed and that individuals were not especially active in January; however, with strong results in November, we would still view the holiday shopping season as favorable, and the results in January, while slow, were not weak enough to suggest a pullback by consumers", Daiwa said. In August Netflix announced a deal with "Scandal" and "Gray's Anatomy" creator and producer Shonda Rhimes.
Meanwhile, Australian stocks jumped 1.15 percent.
NuVista Energy bucked the energy trend to rise 3 per cent to C$7.83 after Eight Capital and Raymond James raised their target prices.
As such, the US economy is on track to grow about 3.1 percent in 2018, according to Credit Suisse, following the budget deal last week.
The EIA Petroleum Status Report showed an increase in oil inventory of 1.8 million barrels for the week.
Wholesale gasoline added 3 cents to $1.71 a gallon.
Canadian National Railway was among the biggest drags on the index, losing 1.6 per cent to C$95.28.