Stocks rose on Friday as an upbeat consumer survey fueled hopes that the U.S. economic slump may be moderating and investors bet on strong results ahead following reassuring reports from General Electric
Shares of GE jumped more than 3 percent after the company posted a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit. Among banks, shares of Bank of America
Citigroup reported a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss, but its shares dipped about 6 percent as some investors paused following the stock's strong run-up since early last month when the bank said, along with others, it had had a good start to 2009.
The rate of deceleration in the economy is slowing, said David Lutz, managing director of trading at Stifel Nicolaus Capital Markets in Baltimore.
From a macro standpoint, the reason for a lot of the drive is just that we're continuing to get data points that show things are beginning to operate very well in the credit markets.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 30.35 points, or 0.37 percent, to 8,155.78. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> added 5.84 points, or 0.67 percent, to 871.14. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 2.93 points, or 0.18 percent, to 1,673.37.
A higher finish will propel the benchmark S&P 500 to its sixth straight weekly advance, its longest weekly winning streak since spring 2007. The S&P 500 is now up 28 percent since the 12-year closing low of March 9.
On Nasdaq, a 2 percent gain in the shares of iPod and iPhone maker Apple
Apple is probably going to have positive things to say, added Lutz. Apple shares rose to $123.91, making the stock the Nasdaq's top boost.
The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers report showed that U.S. consumers have more confidence in the U.S. economy than they have had since the sudden collapse of Lehman Brothers in September, which caused the near-implosion of the global banking system.
Also underpinning the market's advance were the gains in the shares of companies seen better able to withstand economic downturns.
Deutsche Bank said Procter & Gamble
Shares of fast food company McDonald's Corp
(Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)