* Durable goods rise but ex-transport figure disappoints
* Amazon, Microsoft, Zynga rally after results
* Indexes up: Dow 0.1 pct, S&P 0.1 pct, Nasdaq 0.4 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Oct 25 U.S. stocks edged up on Friday,
with the S&P 500 on track to close at an all-time high as
results from Amazon and Microsoft sent those stocks soaring.
The S&P's yearly gain was just short of the 23.5 percent
advance in 2009. A bigger gain this year would be the index's
largest in a decade.
Expectations that the Federal Reserve will continue its $85
billion a month bond-purchase program will likely provide a
floor for stock prices into 2014.
"The market has focused on good news stories, be it revenue
or earnings, so there will be a positive impact from Microsoft
and Amazon," said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm
LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
"The backdrop is the lack of competition to equities from
fixed income and this extended period of low interest rates," he
said. "Investors feel they have no alternative but to be in
Microsoft Corp was the leading points gainer on
both the Nasdaq and S&P 500 as it cruised past Wall Street
estimates for quarterly profit and revenue Thursday. Shares rose
6.6 percent to $35.93.
Amazon shares were posting their largest daily gain
since late April 2012 after the online retailer posted a
narrower quarterly loss and grew sales by a better-than-expected
24 percent. Shares jumped 9.6 percent to $364.16 after hitting a
record high of $368.40.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 14.5 points or
0.09 percent, to 15,523.71, the S&P 500 gained 1.5 points
or 0.09 percent, to 1,753.57 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 15.065 points or 0.38 percent, to 3,944.025.
United Parcel Service hit a record high at $96.94
after posting a bigger quarterly profit and said it expects
online sales to boost holiday volume. Shares were up 0.2 percent
Zynga said it expects a full-year profit after
reporting better-than-expected third-quarter results due to
cost-cutting and a renewed focus on mobile games and core
franchises. Shares jumped 12.8 percent to $3.99.
Dow component DuPont jumped to a more than 13 year
high a day after announcing it will spin off its titanium
dioxide unit within 18 months, yielding to intense pressure from
Wall Street to divest the volatile business. Shares hit $62.69
and were recently up 0.3 percent at $61.54.
New orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods outside
of transportation equipment fell in September, possibly due to
uncertainty over government spending, while a surge in aircraft
orders helped boost the headline durable goods number by 3.7
percent last month, more than expected.
In other data the Commerce Department said wholesale
inventories rose 0.5 percent in August, the biggest increase
since January. The government also said inventories rose more
than initially estimated in July.
U.S. consumer sentiment dropped in October to its lowest
level since the end of last year as consumers worried
Congressional dysfunction and the resulting partial federal
government shutdown would hurt growth.