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S&P 500 Pushes Further Into Record Territory

ws2Strong 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 struck a deal 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 1,739, as of 11:10 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. It closed at a record Thursday.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 10 points to 15,362. The Nasdaq composite was up 33 points, or 0.9 percent, at 3,896.

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 66 cents, or nearly 3 percent, to $25.34. 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 59 cents, to $29.52, a gain of 2 percent. The investment bank reported that its third-quarter earnings nearly doubled on strong results in stock sales and trading. Morgan Stanley reported net income of 50 cents per share before an accounting charge, compared with 28 cents per share in the same period a year earlier. Financial analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 40 cents.

Google soared $111, or 12 percent, to $1,000.48 after reporting 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.

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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