US stocks gain for third straight week

Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty Images

US stocks rose for a third week, the longest winning streak since October, as better than estimated economic data and company earnings boosted confidence in American growth.

Technology and energy companies led rallies by nine out of 10 Standard & Poor's 500 Index groups, climbing more than 2.7 per cent. Sears Holdings added 46 per cent amid speculation it may go private and optimism CIT Group will approve financing for the retailer's vendors.

Bank of America led Dow Jones Industrial Average gains after posting a profit.

International Business Machines increased 5.2 per cent after forecasting earnings that beat analysts' estimates.

The S&P 500 advanced 2 per cent to 1315.38 last week. It has gained 4.6 per cent this year, the best start to a year since 1997. The Dow gained 298.42 points, or 2.4 per cent, to 12,720.48 this week, reaching the highest level since July 21.

"The domestic economy is strong and that's helped the stock market," said Mark Bronzo of Security Global Investors in New York.

The S&P 500 rose all four days US exchanges were open last week as data bolstered confidence in the US economy. Claims for jobless benefits dropped to the lowest level since 2008 and confidence among home builders topped forecasts.

Technology companies in the S&P 500 climbed 3.3 per cent as a group, with an index of their performance closing at the highest level since February. Microsoft, Intel and IBM added at least 4.9 per cent as results topped projections.

Hewlett-Packard climbed 6.2 per cent to US$28.13.

Google slumped 6.2 per cent to US$585.99 as fourth-quarter revenue and profit missed estimates.

- BLOOMBERG

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