* JP Morgan, Wells Fargo post earnings
* Washington political talks continue to end crisis
* UMich falls to weakest level in nine months
* Indexes up: Dow 0.33 pct, S&P 0.17 pct, Nasdaq up 0.18 pct
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Oct 11 U.S. stocks edged higher on
Friday, following the biggest rally since the first trading day
of the year, as talks continued in Washington to end a fiscal
stalemate that has shut down the government for days.
President Barack Obama will press his case for a quick
reopening of the entire federal government, coupled with an
emergency increase of U.S. borrowing authority, when he meets
with Senate Republicans on Friday.
The partial government shutdown is now in its eleventh day
and less than a week remains before an Oct. 17 deadline to
extend the government's borrowing authority and avoid a debt
The crisis in Washington threatens to damage the fiscal
standing of the United States and to derail its fragile economic
"There seems to be some flexibility now, at least the talks
are progressing," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of
Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York
"Once sanity returns, at least temporarily, to Washington
the market really should move higher."
Major U.S. stock indexes staged their strongest rally in
more than nine months on Thursday, leaving the S&P 500
less than 2 percent away from its record closing high set three
The S&P financial index slipped 0.1 percent after
earnings reports from JP Morgan Chase & Co, which was up
0.6 percent at $52.84, and Wells Fargo & Co, which fell
1.6 percent to $40.76.
JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank by assets reported a rare
quarterly loss after incurring $9.2 billion in legal expenses.
Excluding litigation expense and reserve release, it earned a
profit of $5.82 billion, or $1.42 a share.
Wells Fargo & Co, the biggest U.S. mortgage lender
reported a 13 percent rise in third-quarter profit, but its
mortgage banking income fell sharply as the refinancing boom
began to fade.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 49.84 points,
or 0.33 percent, to 15,175.91, the S&P 500 gained 2.84
points, or 0.17 percent, to 1,695.4 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 6.728 points, or 0.18 percent, to 3,767.475.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of
Consumers' preliminary October consumer sentiment index fell to
75.2, its weakest level in nine months, from the final September
figure of 77.5, and below expectations of a 76 reading.
Micron Technology Inc fell 3 percent to $17.88 after
the chipmaker reported a smaller-than-expected fourth-quarter
profit on Thursday. The PHLX semiconductor index lost 0.1