By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK — U.S. stocks ended higher Friday, notching a third week of gains, lifted by a jump in General Electric shares and upbeat consumer sentiment data.
The SP 500’s three weeks of gains marked its longest winning streak since May, extending a rebound from the market’s August sell-off.
GE (GE) shares rose 3.4 percent to $29.98, hitting their highest level in seven years, after the company reported better-than-expected earnings. The stock was among the biggest boosts to the SP 500 and Dow.
Mattel (MAT) jumped 6 percent to $23.89 and was the biggest percentage gainer in the SP 500, even after its sales missed estimates.
Consumer sentiment data helped. The University of Michigan’s preliminary index on consumer sentiment rebounded strongly in early October, suggesting that the economic recovery remained on track.
“We’re in a window right now of roughly between 2,000 and 2,050 [for the SP] that is fairly important for the market. That’s the point at which the market broke down in August. If we can hold above 2,000, that would be good thing,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.
Also, he said, “we’re in the better part of the year from a seasonal perspective. Certainty with the selloff that we’ve had in the third quarter, it sets up for potentially a good fourth quarter.”
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 74.22 points, or 0.4 percent, to 17,215.97, the Standard Poor’s 500 index (^GSPC) gained 9.25 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,033.11 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 16.59 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,886.69.
For the week, the Dow rose 0.8 percent, also registering a third week of gains, while the SP 500 was up 0.9 percent and the Nasdaq gained 1.2 percent.
Third Quarter Earnings
Forecasts for SP 500 earnings improved slightly as more companies reported results. Third-quarter earnings are now expected to have fallen 3.9 percent, compared with Monday’s forecast for a decline of 4.8 percent, according to Thomson Reuters (TRI) data.
Other domestic data released Friday showed a lackluster industrial production picture, with industrial production shrinking for the second month in a row in September, in line with expectations.
The Federal Reserve, which kept rates at near-zero levels at its September meeting, is waiting for signs of stabilizing inflation and sustained economic recovery before it pulls the trigger on a rate hike.
Twitter (TWTR) rose 4.8 percent to $31.15 after Bloomberg reported that former Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer owns a 4 percent stake in the company.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,829 to 1,225, for a 1.49-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,428 issues fell and 1,330 advanced for a 1.07-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.
The SP 500 posted 21 new 52-week highs and 4 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 56 new highs and 25 new lows.
About 6.6 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, compared with the 7.5 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.
–Abhiram Nandakuma contributed reporting from Bangalore, India.
What to watch Monday:
- The National Association of Home Builders releases its housing market index for October at 10 a.m. Eastern time
These selected companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial results: