Stocks rose on Friday on better-than-expected results from companies, including American Express and Schlumberger, as economic data raised hopes the economic cycle may have hit a trough.

Struggling automaker Ford Motor Co was among the bright spots in a busy week for earnings reports, saying on Friday it was on track to at least break even in 2011, while credit card company American Express Co reported results late on Thursday that beat Wall Street's expectations. Shares of American Express popped up almost 16 percent and gave the biggest boost to the Dow.

Energy shares also climbed as the price of oil rose back above $51 a barrel and results from top oilfield services company Schlumberger Ltd beat expectations.

Software giant Microsoft Corp gave the biggest lift on the Nasdaq, up 8.3 percent at $20.49, after investors cheered cost-cutting efforts and appeared to be relieved that the release of its Windows 7 operating system was on track, overlooking a fall in profits.

On the economic front, government data showed durable goods orders slipped in March, but fell far less than Wall Street expected. Sales of new single-family homes dropped, but inventories plummeted at a record pace.

We've had the biggest earnings week of the year and for the most part, come through pretty well, said Michael James, senior trader at Wedbush Morgan in Los Angeles.

Big names are giving better results, and that is the main driver of the market today.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 133.73 points, or 1.68 percent, to 8,090.79. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> added 15.47 points, or 1.82 percent, to 867.39. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 40.74 points, or 2.47 percent, to 1,692.95.

A concept paper on the government stress tests for the 19 biggest U.S. financial institutions is set to be released at 2 p.m. EDT, according to a source familiar with the process.

The market will have a significant move after that data comes out, one way or the other, Wedbush Morgan's James added.

The paper will describe regulators' evaluation of how the institutions would fare if the economy took an even sharper turn for the worse. The KBW Bank index <.BKX> was up 1.1 percent at midday.

Ford, mired in the auto sector's deep downturn, posted a smaller-than-expected loss and said it did not expect to seek government loans. Ford's stock rose 16.3 percent to $5.22.

A day after posting results, American Express gave the most fuel to the Dow's rise as it stock shot up 15.7 percent to $24.26.

In the energy sector, Schlumberger shares jumped 7.3 percent to $50.00.

Chevron also ranked among the Dow's biggest advancers, up 2.4 percent at $67.10 as front-month U.S. crude oil futures rose almost 4 percent, or $1.82, to $51.44 a barrel.

Shares of online retail giant , up 6.4 percent at $85.76, gave another boost to the Nasdaq after beating profit and sales estimates.

The S&P 500 index is down 0.4 percent for the week. If it ends the week lower, it will snap a six-week streak of gains.

But if the S&P shifts gears to turn higher for the week, this will mark its first seven-week winning streak since early May 2007.

Since the bear market closing low hit on March 9, the S&P 500 has climbed 28.2 percent.

(Editing by Jan Paschal)