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Stocks seesaw on earnings reports

April 18, 2009|Associated Press

The stock market recorded its sixth straight weekly gain Friday, the first such streak in almost two years, as first-quarter earnings reports were upbeat enough to keep Wall Street's optimism intact.

Citigroup became the fourth bank in a week to put out news pointing toward a recovery in the industry. The company posted its first profit in six quarters despite surging loan losses. General Electric reported a 36% drop in earnings as results worsened at its GE Capital unit.

Although the results weren't great, they placated investors, said Kent Engelke, chief economic strategist at Capitol Securities Management. Had they trailed expectations, "we would have gotten killed," he said.

Citigroup shares jumped in early trading but closed down 36 cents at $3.65. General Electric climbed 12 cents to $12.39.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 5.90 points, or 0.1%, to 8,131.33. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 0.5%, while the Nasdaq composite index advanced 0.2%.

The Russell 2,000 index of smaller companies rose 1.2%.

About two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

For the week, the Dow rose 0.6%, the S&P 500 gained 1.5% and the Nasdaq advanced 1.2%.

The string of six weekly gains was the first since April and May 2007 for the Dow and the S&P, and since late 2005 for the Nasdaq. Since hitting multiyear lows March 9, the Dow is up 24%, the S&P is up 29% and the Nasdaq is up 32%.

In the Treasury bond market Friday, yields rose. The benchmark 10-year T-note climbed to 2.93% from 2.83% late Thursday.

Oil edged back above $50 a barrel. Crude futures rose 35 cents to $50.33 in New York.

Overseas, key stock indexes rose 1.7% in Japan, 1% in Britain, 1.5% in Germany and 1.8% in France.

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