* Dow hits 14,000 for first time since Oct 2007
* Google shares briefly touch all-time high before
* Dell shares jump; sources say its near buyout deal
* Indexes up: Dow 1.1 pct; S&P 1 pct; Nasdaq 1.2 pct
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, Feb 1 U.S. stocks rose to five-year
highs on Friday after jobs and manufacturing data showed the
economy's recovery remains on track.
The Dow industrials rose above 14,000 for the first time
since mid-October 2007 and the S&P touched its highest since
December of that year. The S&P advanced 5 percent in January for
its best start to a year since 1997 and is now just about 60
points away from its all-time intraday high of 1,576.09.
Analysts attributed the market's robust showing so far this
year partly to a deluge of cash flowing into equities.
Investors poured $12.7 billion into U.S.-based stock mutual
funds and exchange-traded funds in the latest week, concluding
the strongest four-week flows into stock funds since 1996, data
showed on Thursday.
"Fundamentals are looking good today after the data, but
overall the money that was on the sidelines is finally coming
into the market again," said Doug Cote, chief market strategist
at ING Investment Management.
Employment grew modestly in January, with 157,000 jobs added
in the month, slightly below expectations for 160,000. But Labor
Department revisions showed 127,000 more jobs were created in
November and December than previously reported.
Other reports released Friday showed the pace of growth in
the U.S. manufacturing sector picked up in January to its
highest level in nine months, U.S. consumer sentiment rose more
than expected last month, while December construction spending
also beat forecasts.
"All the data seems to keep pointing to a slowly, steadily
improving economy," said Eric Kuby, chief investment officer at
North Star Investment Management Corp in Chicago.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 150.14
points, or 1.08 percent, at 14,010.72. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was up 15.11 points, or 1.01 percent, at 1,513.22.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 38.50 points, or 1.23
percent, at 3,180.63.
With the day's gains, major equity indexes were on track for
a fifth straight week of gains. The S&P 500 is also coming off
its best monthly performance since October 2011.
Google shares briefly hit an all-time high of
$774.92 before retreating to trade 2.5 percent higher at
Investors were also attuned to corporate earnings, with a
trio of Dow components reporting profits that beat expectations.
Exxon Mobil was little changed at $89.95 after its
results while Chevron added 1 percent to $116.34.
Drugmaker Merck & Co fell 2.7 percent to $42.10
after a cautious 2013 outlook.
Generic drugmaker Perrigo reported a
better-than-expected second-quarter profit and its shares jumped
5.5 percent to $106.01.
Of the 252 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported
earnings so far, 69 percent have exceeded expectations,
according to Thomson Reuters data. That is a higher proportion
than over the past four quarters and above average since 1994.
Overall, S&P 500 fourth-quarter earnings are estimated to
have grown 4.4 percent, according to the data, up from a 1.9
percent forecast at the start of the earnings season but well
below a 9.9 percent profit growth forecast on Oct. 1.
Dell Inc gained 4.2 percent to $13.80 after sources
said the company was nearing an agreement to sell itself to a
buyout consortium led by its founder, Michael Dell, and private
equity firm Silver Lake Partners.
Shares of General Motors and Ford Motor rose
after the two largest American automakers posted
better-than-expected U.S. auto sales for January.
GM gained 1.2 percent to $28.42 and Ford added 0.9 percent
Shares of Zoetis surged on its trading debut on the
New York Stock Exchange after its shares were priced at $26,
above the expected range. Zoetis was trading at $30.67 at midday
after earlier climbing as high as $31.74.