Stocks Pare Gains in Final Hour
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Blue-chip stocks posted their first weekly gain in three as a wave of strong earnings reports offset worries about Europe and the global economy.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 65 points, or 0.5%, to close at 13,029 after rising to as high as 13,082 earlier Friday.
The Dow gained 1.4% this week, while the S&P 500 edged up 0.6% and the Nasdaq lost 0.6%.
Stocks began Friday on a strong note, as investors cheered strong quarterly reports from Dow companies on Thursday and Friday, and good economic data out of Europe. Markets lost steam by the end of the session as investors looked ahead to the earnings reports scheduled for next week.
"Next week there's just a tremendous number of earnings coming out and it's more of a reflection of what we've seen so far, which has been very mediocre earnings with not a lot of positive guidance going forward," says Jeffrey Sica, president and chief investment officer of SICA Wealth Management.
Despite the strong number of better-than-expected quarterly results so far, some investors remain skeptical of the financial state of major companies.
"Earnings continue to impress, outlooks are decent, not outstanding," said Mark Lamkin, president and CEO, Lamkin Wealth Management. Still, he said investors have been too cautious about earnings.
"This is kind of the Rodney Dangerfield economy, and Rodney Dangerfield markets -- it gets no respect," he says. "It's record GDP, it's record S&P 500 earnings, it's the best auto sales since 2008, it's 24 months of employment growth, and investors are still nervous."
Among the 30 Dow stocks, 22 stocks rose on Friday and eight declined. Microsoft(MSFT) led the Dow higher, advancing 4.6% after the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant reported third-quarter earnings of 60 cents a share on $17.41 billion in revenue after the bell on Thursday. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings of 57 cents a share on $17.16 billion in revenue.
GE reported first-quarter operating earnings of $3.6 billion, or 34 cents a share, compared to $4.2 billion, or 39 cents a share, during the fourth quarter, and $2.3 billion, or 21 cents a share, during the first quarter of 2011. The first-quarter earnings came in ahead of the 33-cent estimate among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Shares added 1.2% at $19.36.
Hamburger giant McDonald's(MCD) posted in-line, adjusted first-quarter earnings of $1.23 a share, up from $1.15 a share the same time last year, and revenue of $6.55 billion, up from $6.11 billion the prior year. The company was expected by analysts to post earnings of $1.23 a share in the March-ended quarter on revenue of $6.54 billion. The stock edged up 0.7% at $95.94.