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S&P 500 Posts Longest Winning Streak Since 2004 on Earnings

Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks rose, giving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index its longest winning streak since 2004, as Starbucks Corp. and Procter & Gamble Co. reported increased profit and German business confidence beat forecasts.

Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee-shop operator, advanced 4.1 percent. Procter & Gamble, the biggest consumer- products maker, climbed 3.9 percent as it also raised its 2013 earnings forecast.

The S&P 500 added 0.5 percent to 1,502.89 at 4 p.m. in New York. The benchmark gauge has gained for eight straight days, the longest string of advances since November 2004.

“Day to day, it is earnings-driven at this point,” Tom Wirth, who helps manage $1.6 billion as senior investment officer for Chemung Canal Trust Co., in Elmira, New York, said by telephone. “There’s a point in time where the market has gone up for so long, so much, that it’s got to take some period of time to consolidate those gains before it goes again.”

The S&P 500 climbed for the fourth straight week, advancing 1.1 percent since Jan. 18. The measure failed to close above 1,500 yesterday after surpassing that level intraday for the first time since Dec. 12, 2007.

The benchmark index has more than doubled from a 12-year low in 2009 as corporate earnings have increased for three years and the Federal Reserve expanded its bond purchases to keep interest rates low to spur growth. The S&P 500 is about 4 percent below its all-time high of 1,565.15 set in October 2007.

German Confidence

Stocks rose today as German business confidence rose more than forecast in January, adding to signs that Europe’s largest economy is recovering. The European Central Bank said banks will next week repay more of its emergency three-year loans than economists forecast, in another sign the euro region’s debt crisis is abating. Equities briefly pared gains as data showed purchases of new U.S. homes unexpectedly dropped in December.

About 76 percent of the 147 companies in the S&P 500 that have released results so far this quarter exceeded profit projections, while 67 percent topped sales estimates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Analysts are turning more optimistic, boosting their projections for fourth-quarter profit growth to 4 percent from 2.9 percent at the beginning of the month, the data show.

“Earnings have been better than expected,” Phil Orlando, the New York-based chief equity strategist at Federated Investors Inc., said in a telephone interview. His firm oversees about $370 billion. “Guidance has been muted, which would be expected, and it’s still early but on balance we’ve got to conclude that this first batch of results have been better than the Street’s conservative forecasts.”

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