NEW YORK — Stronger profits from Microsoft, McDonald's and other major U.S. corporations pushed stocks higher Friday. Optimism from Europe helped brighten the mood.
Before the market opened, McDonald's posted better quarterly profits, buoyed by warm weather and sales of new menu items such as Chicken McBites and oatmeal. Sales picked up even in Europe, McDonald's' biggest market, despite economic turmoil and severe weather.
Microsoft beat analysts' projections with quarterly earnings and revenue, and sales in its Windows division were surprisingly strong. And General Electric posted a profit of more than $3 billion, helped by orders for locomotives, aircraft engines and other equipment.
The Dow rose 65.16 points to close at 13,029.26. The S&P 500 added 1.61 points to 1,378.53.
After nine straight quarters of growth, earnings for S&P 500 companies were expected to be nearly flat. But eight of every 10 companies that have reported so far, including Coca-Cola and IBM, have beaten estimates. As a result, first-quarter earnings are now projected to rise 4.4 percent, according to S&P.
Apple sank 2.5 percent, helping to tug the Nasdaq composite index down 7.11 points to 3,000.45. Apple, the most valuable company in the world, accounts for 12 percent of the Nasdaq.
Oil services giant Schlumberger Ltd. rose 3 percent. E-Trade Financial Corp. jumped 6 percent, the largest gain in the S&P 500.
SanDisk Corp. plummeted 11 percent, the S&P's biggest loser. The flash memory maker said late Thursday that weak demand and low prices cut its quarterly profit by nearly half. SanDisk warned that it expects the trend to continue. Tempur-Pedic International Inc., the mattress maker, plunged 20.6 percent after posting a disappointing full-year earnings forecast.