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Stocks gain, boosted by P&G, Starbucks earnings

Source : AP
Last Updated: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 20:00 hrs

Stocks rose on Wall Street in midday trading Friday after Procter & Gamble and Starbucks posted strong earnings reports.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 30 points to 13,855 as of noon Friday. The Standard & Poor's 500 advanced three points to 1,498. The Nasdaq gained eight points to 3,138.

Procter & Gamble, world's largest consumer products maker, gained $2.61 to $73.02 after reporting that its quarterly income more than doubled. P&G also raised its profit forecast for its full fiscal year. Starbucks rose $1.95 to $56.54 after reporting a 13 percent increase in profits.

The S&P 500 broke through 1,500 Thursday for the first time since December 2007, following a drop in claims for unemployment benefits that added to evidence that the labor market is healing. The index fell back but still ended the day fractionally higher and extended its streak of gains to seven days, the longest since October 2006.

"Earnings are growing," said Joe Tanious, a global market strategist at JPMorgan. "The bottom line is that corporate America is doing exceptionally well."

Tanious expects corporate earnings to grow at about 5 percent over the "next year or two," and stock valuations to rise. Currently, the S&P 500 is trading at an average price-to-earnings ratio of 14, below an average of 15.1 for the last decade, according to FactSet data.

Stocks have surged this month, with the S&P 500 advancing 5 percent this month. It jumped at the start of the year when lawmakers reached a last-minute deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff." Stocks built on those gains on optimism that the housing market is recovering and the labor market is healing. The Dow Jones is up 5.7 percent on the year.

Deutsche Bank analysts raised their year-end target for the index to 1,600 from 1,575.

Companies will be able to maintain their earnings even if lawmakers in Washington decide to implement wide-ranging spending cuts to narrow the budget deficit, the analysts said in a note sent to clients late Thursday.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to its price, climbed 5 basis points to 1.91 percent.

Among other stocks making big moves.

— Netflix climbed $19.61 to $166.47, after the stock logged its biggest single day advance Thursday on the outlook for the company's Internet video service.

— Halliburton gained $1.87 to $39.69 after posting a loss that was smaller than analysts had expected. The oilfield services company said fourth-quarter profits declined 26 percent to $669 million on increasing pricing pressure in the North American market and one-time charges from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Wall Street had expected worse.

—Hasbro fell $1.45 to $37 after the toy maker said its fourth-quarter revenue failed to meet expectations because of poor demand over the holidays. The company plans to cut about 10 percent of its workforce and consolidate facilities to cut expenses.

— Green Mountain Coffee Roasters rose $1.10 to $44.88 after an analyst noted that sales of a competing coffee brewer introduced by Starbucks were getting off to a weak start.



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