* November retail sales rise more than expected
* Consumer sentiment improves in early December
* United Technologies leads Dow after outlook
* Dow up 0.4 pct, S&P up 0.3 pct, Nasdaq up 0.2 pct
* For up-to-the-minute market news, click [STXNEWS/US] (Updates to midmorning)
By Leah Schnurr
NEW YORK, Dec 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Friday as reports pointing to steadying consumer demand supported optimism that the burgeoning economic recovery will be sustainable.
Consumer and small-cap stocks led shares higher after a series of stronger-than-anticipated reports lessened concerns that a double-dip recession is in store.
November U.S. retail sales rose more than forecast to post their largest advance since August, while a separate report showed consumer sentiment improved in early December. For details, see [ID:nN11254372] [ID:nN11258525]
"It looks like the holiday season is going to be much better than we expected," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners in New York.
"This bodes well for economic activity going forward. The numbers today certainly point to the right direction."
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 38.84 points, or 0.37 percent, to 10,444.67. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX added 3.76 points, or 0.34 percent, to 1,106.11. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC gained 3.86 points, or 0.18 percent, to 2,194.72.
United Technologies Corp (UTX.N) rose 1.8 percent at $69.13, leading the Dow after the diversified manufacturer said it expects profits to rise about 10 percent next year as heavy cost-cutting pays off. [ID:nN10202403] (Additional reporting by Ellis Mnyandu; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)