S&P 500 pushes further into record territory
NEW YORK — Strong earnings from big U.S. companies helped push the Standard & Poor's 500 index further into record territory Friday.
General Electric, Morgan Stanley and Google all rose after reporting higher earnings than financial analysts were expecting. Google topped $1,000 a share for the first time. Investors were also encouraged by a rebound in Chinese economic growth in the latest quarter.
"We've moved from the dysfunction of Washington to the reality of the global economy, and it looks pretty good," said Ron Florance, deputy chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank.
Two days after Congress voted to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and reopen the government, the S&P 500 rose five points, or a third of a percent, to 1,738, at midday Eastern Daylight Time. It closed at a record Thursday.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped six points to 15,365. The Nasdaq composite was up 30 points, or 0.8 percent, at 3,893.
The Chinese government reported that the world's second-largest economy grew by 7.8 percent in the three months ending in September.
General Electric rose 80 cents, or 3 percent, to $25.48. That is the highest level since the start of the financial crisis in September 2008, when some investors doubted the company could survive intact. After backing out costs from shedding its media and banking operations, the industrial products maker earned 40 cents per share in the third quarter versus the 35 cents per share that analysts expected.
Morgan Stanley rose 74 cents, to $29.66, a gain of 2.5 percent. The investment bank reported that its earnings nearly doubled on strong results in stock sales and trading, beating analysts' estimates. Morgan Stanley is up 55 percent this year, the most among major banks and nearly twice the gain of the next-best performing bank stock, Citigroup.
Google soared $113, or 13 percent, to $1,002. It reported a 36 percent jump in earnings after the stock market closed Thursday. An erosion in Google's ad pricing was more than offset by a big increase in the frequency of clicks on Google's ads.
Seven of the 10 industries in the S&P 500 rose, led by information technology companies, up 1.3 percent.
Chipotle Mexican Grill jumped $60, or 14 percent, to $499, the biggest gain in the S&P 500. The company reported that its third-quarter earnings rose 15 percent on higher traffic to its 1,500 restaurants.
Investors are awaiting a flood of earnings reports early next week, including McDonalds on Monday and Boeing and Caterpillar on Wednesday and Ford on Thursday.
Earnings for S&P 500 companies in the July-September period are expected to have grown 3.3 percent from a year earlier, according to data from S&P Capital IQ. That's slower than the growth of 4.9 percent in the second quarter and 5.2 percent in the first quarter.
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