Stocks rose on Friday, with sentiment boosted by fresh signs of economic stability and investors bet more strong results are in the offing after reassuring reports from General Electric and Citigroup .

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 more than 28 percent since the 12-year closing low of March 9.

GE's stock jumped 2 percent to $12.50 after the company posted a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit. Among banks, shares of Bank of America , due to report quarterly results on Monday, climbed nearly 8 percent to $11.14.

Citigroup reported a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss, but its shares slipped 6.2 percent to $3.76. Some investors have taken a break following the stock's strong run-up since early March 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 42.53 points, or 0.52 percent, to 8,167.96. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 9.12 points, or 1.05 percent, to 874.41. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> climbed 7.06 points, or 0.42 percent, to 1,677.50.

Profit-taking ahead of the weekend tempered some of the upside, traders said.

On Nasdaq, a 2.1 percent gain in the shares of iPod and iPhone maker Apple helped reverse the technology sector's earlier decline ahead of Apple's quarterly results next week.

Apple is probably going to have positive things to say, Lutz added.

Apple shares rose to $124.01, 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
, Colgate-Palmolive and Kimberly-Clark Corp were undervalued at current levels. P&G rose 2.4 percent to $51.64 and ranked second among the stocks giving the biggest boosts to the Dow. The No. 3 spot among the Dow's top advancers belonged to diversified health-care company Johnson & Johnson , up 2.1 percent at $53.29.

Shares of fast-food company McDonald's Corp rose 2.4 percent to $56.01 after its chief executive told CNBC that he saw some thawing in economic conditions.

(Editing by Jan Paschal)