* GE, Microsoft profits top estimates
* McDonald's paces Dow after strong U.S. sales
* Indexes up: Dow 0.8 pct, S&P 0.7 pct, Nasdaq 0.8 pct
By David Gaffen
NEW YORK, April 20 U.S. stocks rose on Friday,
putting the S&P 500 on pace for its biggest weekly gain in the
past five weeks, led by solid earnings from McDonald's, General
Electric and Microsoft.
General Electric Co's results drove buying in
industrial shares, which led the market on Friday. The company
expects double-digit earnings for the year, Chief Executive Jeff
Immelt said, helping shares rise 1.8 percent.
As earnings season moves into high gear, the first wave of
results has been substantially stronger than expected, with 81
percent of companies exceeding expectations thus far, according
to Thomson Reuters data.
That has helped stocks regain their footing after a recent
pullback on less-than-inspiring U.S. economic figures and
renewed worry about Europe's debt crisis.
"Yesterday there was some concern that McDonald's might
miss, but they matched and had strong same-store sales growth.
GE beat their number. Overall, it continues to be another good
earnings season," said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment
officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.
"They are good signs the U.S. economy remains on track. It's
not super growth, but it's growth."
McDonald's Corp climbed 2.3 percent to $97.47 and
was the top boost to the Dow after the world's No. 1 fast-food
chain reported higher quarterly profit, paced by strong U.S.
Microsoft Corp advanced 5.5 percent, its biggest
percentage gain in three months, to $32.70 after profit beat
Wall Street's expectations late Thursday, with personal computer
sales holding up better than expected.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 107.24
points, or 0.83 percent, to 13,071.34. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index rose 9.19 points, or 0.67 percent, to 1,386.11. The
Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 22.69 points, or 0.75
percent, to 3,030.25.
Industrial conglomerate Honeywell International Inc
reported higher quarterly profit and raised its 2012 earnings
forecast. The stock was up 3.3 pct to $59.89.
The S&P industrial sector index, up 1.1 percent, was
the top performing S&P sector.
Oilfield services company Schlumberger NV's profit
rose on improved deepwater activity and global exploration in
several regions. Shares climbed 4.5 percent to $72.90. The PHLX
oil service sector index gained nearly 1 percent.
SanDisk Corp slumped 13.3 percent to $35.09 after
the chipmaker said prices would suffer from a glut in the supply
of memory chips, sounding its second revenue warning in as many
quarters. The PHLX semiconductor index dropped 1.6