Jan 21, 2011 4:03 PM by AP News
Strong profits at General Electric and other companies sent stocks slightly higher Friday. General Electric Co. gained 7.9 percent, leading the 30 stocks that make up the Dow Jones industrial average. The conglomerate's earnings rose 52 percent on growth in equipment orders and lending. The company's results helped send other industrial companies higher. Conglomerates 3M Co. and Textron Inc. each gained more than 1 percent.
Bank of America Corp. lost 1.4 percent, making it the weakest Dow stock. The country's largest bank reported a $1.6 billion loss in the fourth quarter after setting aside more money to buy back faulty home loans from investors. The Dow rose 56 points, or 0.5 percent, to 11,878 in afternoon trading. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 5 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,285. The Nasdaq composite index slid 6 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,698. Chip maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. sank 6 percent. AMD's fourth-quarter profit shrank compared with a year ago, when a big legal settlement it won from archrival chip maker Intel Corp. lifted its earnings.
Technology companies in the S&P 500 fell 0.3 percent, the worst of any of the 10 company groups that make up the index. Industry bellwethers Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. each lost more than 1 percent. Google reported a 29 percent rise in income after the market closed Thursday. The Internet search giant said that co-founder Larry Page will take over as chief executive, replacing Eric Schmidt. Google's stock fell 0.6 percent. Bond prices rose slightly, sending their yields down to 3.42 percent from 3.43 percent late Thursday.