5:01 PM EDT, April 17, 2014
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks ended a holiday-shortened week with mostly modest gains on Thursday, though the S&P 500 notched its biggest weekly advance since July as Morgan Stanley and General Electric rallied after strong results.
The two were the latest to post earnings that topped expectations, helping to lift the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq to their fourth straight daily advance. Tech bellwethers Google and IBM fell on disappointing figures and limited the broader market's gain. IBM's slide pushed the Dow into slightly negative territory at the close.
With less than one-fifth of S&P 500 companies having reported results so far, about 63 percent have topped earnings expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data, exceeding the 56 percent average over the past four quarters. About 52 percent have beaten revenue forecasts, about even with the 54 percent average over the past four quarters.
"Today's earnings were mixed, with some beating and others missing
Tech shares capped the S&P 500's gain, with Google Inc
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> slipped 16.31 points, or 0.10 percent, to end at 16,408.54. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 2.54 points, or 0.14 percent, to finish at 1,864.85. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 9.29 points, or 0.23 percent, to close at 4,095.52.
For the week, the Dow rose 2.4 percent, the S&P 500 added 2.7 percent and the Nasdaq advanced 2.4 percent. The Dow had its best week since December while the S&P 500 closed out its best week since July.
Trading volume was light ahead of the Good Friday market holiday. About 6.1 billion shares traded on all U.S. platforms, according to BATS exchange data, below the month-to-date average of 6.88 billion.
The CBOE Volatility index <.VIX>, a measure of investor anxiety, fell 21.6 percent over the week, its biggest weekly drop since January 2013.
After the closing bell, Advanced Micro Devices Inc
During the regular session, SanDisk Corp
Questions from U.S. lawmakers on the cost of that drug prompted a sharp selloff in Gilead in mid-March that lasted for nearly a month. The stock rose 1 percent to $70 on Thursday.
The latest data showed the U.S. economy's health was improving. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose less than expected in the latest week and came near pre-recession levels. Factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region expanded in April at a faster clip than anticipated, according to a survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
Shares of China's Weibo Corp
Shares of MoneyGram International
About 56 percent of stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange ended the day higher while 61 percent of Nasdaq-listed shares ended in positive territory.
(Editing by Jan Paschal)
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