U.S. stocks on Friday continued their rally, led by consumer stocks, sending the S&P 500 above the 1,500-point threshold and putting it on track for its eighth-straight gain.
The S&P 500 closed at 1,502.96, up 8.14 points or 0.5 per cent – extending the longest rally since 2004, according to Bloomberg News. The benchmark index had risen above 1,500 in Thursday’s session, but handed back most of its gains in the afternoon.
The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average closed at 13,895.98, up 70.65 points or 0.5 per cent. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,816.03, down 7.59 points or less than 0.1 per cent.
Apple Inc. surrendered an early gain, falling 2.4 per cent to its lowest level in a year. It fell more than 12 per cent on Thursday, following the release of disappointing quarterly results. On Friday, the stock closed at $439.88 (U.S.) – which also means that Apple is no longer the world’s most valuable company based on market capitalization. Those honours now go to Exxon Mobil Corp.
Microsoft Corp. rose 0.9 per cent after it reported a 3.7 per cent dip in its quarterly earnings – but also showed an 11 per cent increase in its Windows division revenue following the release of the Windows 8 operating system and the Surface tablet last year.
Starbucks rose 4.1 per cent after the coffee retailer reported a 13 per cent gain in its earnings.
Consumer products giant Procter & Gamble rose 4 per cent after its earnings beat expectations and it raised its outlook for 2013.
In Canada, Research In Motion Ltd. shed its early lead, ending the day down 1.1 per cent.
Among key commodities, crude oil fell to $95.88 a barrel, down 7 cents. Gold fell to $1,656.60 an ounce, down $13.30. Suncor Energy Inc. rose 0.7 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. fell 1.3 per cent.