COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | GEORGE CHAMBERLIN

S&P 500 erases loss for week on earnings, spending data

Stocks rallied Thursday after strong earnings reports from Facebook and Qualcomm.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 109.82 points to 15,848.61. The Nasdaq composite index added 71.69 points to 4,123.12, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 19.99 points to 1,794.19 for the largest advance since Dec. 18.

Shares of Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) rose $7.55 to $61.08 after reporting higher revenue and profit. Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) rose $2.14 to $73.26.

The Commerce Department reported the gross domestic product rose 3.2 percent in the last three months of 2013 as consumer and business spending rose. For the entire year, the GDP was up just 1.9 percent.

Gold fell $19.70 to $1,242.50 an ounce and oil was up 87 cents to $98.23 a barrel.

All 10 main S&P 500 industry groups rose as the government reported the economy grew 3.2 percent and spending climbed the most in three years. Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) tumbled 7.7 percent after the market close as profit trailed forecasts.

About 6.9 billion shares changed hands in the United States, 11 percent above the three-month average.

Consumer spending, which accounts for almost 70 percent of the economy, climbed 3.3 percent, less than estimated.

Jobless claims climbed by 19,000 to 348,000 in the period ended Jan. 25, which included the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Labor Department data showed. The reading was the highest since mid-December. The median forecast of 55 economists was 330,000.

PulteGroup Inc. (NYSE: PHM) added 1.8 percent to $19.77. Net income increased to $220.1 million, or 57 cents a share, from $58.7 million, or 15 cents, a year earlier. That compares with a 46-cent average estimate of 19 analysts.

Among other companies rallying on better-than-estimated earnings, Blackstone Group LP (NYSE: BX) jumped 4.2 percent to $32.23 after the biggest manager of alternative assets posted a record fourth-quarter profit.

Under Armour Inc. (NYSE: UA) climbed 23 percent to a record $104.76 after earnings per share beat estimates by 11 percent.

Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE: PBI) climbed 19 percent to $25.85. The 94-year-old postage-meter supplier trying to transform into an e-commerce company forecast its first revenue growth in six years. Harman International Industries Inc. (NYSE: HAR) jumped 17 percent to $102.34 after raising its earnings projection.

Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) gained 2.6 percent to $1,135.39 after Lenovo Group Ltd. (OTCMKTS: LNVGF) agreed to buy the Motorola Mobility mobile-phone business from the owner of the world’s largest search engine for $2.91 billion. The Chinese PC maker will pay $1.4 billion in cash and its own shares and $1.5 billion in a three-year promissory note, Google said in a statement.

Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) tumbled 7.7 percent to $371.85. The world’s largest Web retailer reported fourth-quarter profit after the market close that trailed analysts’ estimates following a surge in costs to ship gifts over the holidays.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: ALXN) rallied 21 percent to $162 in regular trading for the biggest gain in the S&P 500. The drug company forecast 2014 profit above analysts’ estimates as fourth-quarter sales of Soliris, which treats a rare blood disease, rose 38 percent.

Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) rose 1.7 percent to $220.88 as the debit- and credit-card network posted profit for the first quarter of its financial year that beat analysts’ estimates. The company generated net income of $2.20 a share, more than the $2.16 average projection in a survey.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) lost 1.2 percent to $93.99. The world’s largest oil producer by market value said fourth-quarter profit dropped as it pumped less crude and natural gas from wells, and prices stagnated.

Citrix Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CTXS) slid 7.5 percent to $53.29 after forecasting full-year profit below analysts’ estimates.

3M Co. (NYSE: MMM) fell 1.7 percent to $128.05. The maker of goods ranging from auto insulation to bandages reported fourth-quarter sales below analysts’ estimates as demand in Asia and Latin America slows. The company is a barometer for the global economy with sales of consumer, health care, industrial, electronics and safety products in all regions of the world.

— Bloomberg contributed to this report.

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