Market Closes with Stocks Edging Slightly Higher

Six week rally stays alive

Wall Street found enough in the latest earnings reports to keep its six-week rally alive.

Stocks ended another winning week with a modest advance Friday as earnings from Citigroup Inc. and General Electric Co. came in ahead of the market's meager expectations.

Stocks fluctuated for much of the day to end with slight gains. According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 5.90, or 0.1 percent, to 8,131.33.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 4.30, or 0.5 percent, to 869.60, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 2.63, or 0.2 percent, to 1,673.07.

For the week, the Dow is up 48 points, or 0.6 percent. The S&P 500 index posted a gain of 1.5 percent. The Nasdaq is up 1.2 percent for the week and 6 percent for the year.

The numbers weren't great by normal standards but were good enough to extend a rally that began on early signs that the economy was finding some stability.

Citigroup was the fourth bank in a week with news that pointed toward a budding recovery in the industry. But the company, echoing comments from JPMorgan Chase & Co. on Thursday, also said loan losses are expected to continue in the months ahead.

GE, meanwhile, said its first-quarter earnings dropped 36 percent as sales and profits shrank at its GE Capital financial division.

Kent Engelke, chief economic strategist at Capitol Securities Management, said the results placated investors. "If these companies didn't meet or exceed these expectations, we would have gotten killed," he said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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