Stocks rose on Friday as a dividend hike by General Electric Co and solid earnings from companies including telecommunications provider Verizon Communications Inc boosted sentiment.

The Dow Industrials were briefly in positive territory for the year.

Shares of GE rose nearly 4 percent to $15.80 after the largest U.S. conglomerate increased its quarterly dividend by 20 percent, bolstering views the worst of the financial crisis was behind it. An S&P index of industrial shares <.GSPI> added 2 percent, and the sector was among the top advancers.

Wall Street had a muted reaction at first after the anxiously awaited results of European bank stress tests.

Seven of 91 European banks failed the tests to gauge their strength, fewer than expected, but analysts questioned whether the tests were tough enough.


Other telecoms also rose, including AT&T Inc , up 0.2 percent at $25.58.

Expectations for a double-dip (recession) have passed somewhat. When you start looking at the robust earnings, (it's clear) we're going to have continued growth, said Steve Goldman, market strategist at Weeden & Co in Greenwich, Connecticut.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> jumped 77.12 points, or 0.75 percent, at 10,399.42. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> added 6.63 points, or 0.61 percent, at 1,100.30. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 13.35 points, or 0.59 percent, at 2,259.24.

The S&P 500 rose above 1,100 for the first time in a month, and that gain along with other chart moves, such as its daily moving average convergence-divergence, sent a bullish technical signal sent bullish signals to investors.

Genzyme Corp jumped 17 percent to $63.22 after the Wall Street Journal reported French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis is sounding out the biotechnology company about an acquisition.

U.S.-listed shares of the Bank of Ireland rose 3.6 percent to $4.07 after it passed the regulatory stress tests.

Hoping to ease fears over any impact from the euro zone debt crisis, European regulators assessed how banks would cope with another downturn.

Weighing on the Nasdaq, Inc slid 3 percent to $116.60 a day after reporting a profit far short of estimates.

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Kenneth Barry)