Stocks rise on big tech earnings; Nasdaq composite adds to record

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Stock indexes edged higher Friday, helped by gains in big technology companies including Google, Amazon and Microsoft.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose five points, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,118 as of 2:20 p.m. Eastern. The Nasdaq composite added 37 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 5,093 and the Dow Jones industrial average was up 22 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 18,082.

BIG GAINS IN BIG TECH: Microsoft, Amazon and Google all rose sharply after the releasing their quarterly results. Amazon jumped $56.66, or 15 per cent, to $446.55. While the company reported a quarterly loss, investors were encouraged the growth in some of Amazon’s other businesses, including Amazon’s cloud computing division.

Microsoft rose $4.12, or 10 per cent, to $47.48. The software giant had results that beat expectations, and like Amazon, showed promising growth in new businesses like cloud computing. Google rose $17.72, or 3 per cent, to $564.72. The search and advertising company missed analysts’ expectations; the company had strong growth in mobile advertising.

PIVOTING: Investors have been looking for Google, Microsoft and Amazon to show promise outside their bread-and-butter businesses. Microsoft cannot solely rely on PC sales to drive its profits, Amazon has very low profit margins on the products it sells and Google is heavily exposed to desktop computer advertising while the world is shifting to mobile.

“I think we are starting to see actual evidence that their strategies are working, especially at Microsoft and Amazon,” said Dan Morgan, a portfolio manager at Synovus Trust Company, who owns shares of all three companies.

GREECE: A meeting between Greece and its creditors ended without a deal. A top official said “significant” progress is still needed. The lack of a deal keeps uncertainty over Greece, which is forecast to have enough money only for another few weeks.

WALK AWAY: Time Warner Cable and Comcast rose after the companies called off their $45 billion merger following pressure from regulators. Comcast rose 61 cents to $59.85 and Time Warner Cable rose $7.71, or 5 per cent, to $156.49.

Shares of Time Warner Cable rose after The Wall Street Journal reported that Charter Communications, another cable company, was looking at making a bid for Time Warner Cable now that Comcast pulled out. Charter was up $1.16, or 1 per cent, to $184.48.

NASDAQ RECORD: On Thursday the Nasdaq composite rose to 5,056.06 points, beating the record of 5,048.62 it set on March 10, 2000 at the height of the dot-com boom.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 59 cents to close at $57.15 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

CURRENCIES, BONDS: The dollar fell to 118.89 yen from 119.62 yen. The euro was little changed at $1.0865. U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.92 per cent from 1.96 per cent late Thursday.

METALS: Gold fell $19.30 to $1,175 an ounce, silver fell 19 cents to $15.64 an ounce and copper rose five cents to $2.75 a pound.