World Stock Market News…


U.S. stocks advanced on Friday, as earnings from Microsoft and Procter & Gamble coupled with easing concerns over the possible spread of Ebola in the United States helped put the S&P on track to snap a four-week losing skid.

Microsoft was up 1.7 per cent at $45.91, after it reported higher-than-expected quarterly revenue while keeping its profit margins largely intact.

Fellow Dow component Procter & Gamble gained 2.7 per cent to $85.49 and was also one of the biggest boosts to the S&P 500, after the world’s largest household products maker posted quarterly results and said it would split its Duracell battery business into a separate company.

But Amazon plunged 8.1 per cent to $287.74 as the biggest drag on both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 after the online retailer’s sales projections for the crucial holiday quarter disappointed Wall Street and third-quarter results missed forecasts.

Of 205 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings, 69.8 per cent have topped analyst’s expectations, above the 63 per cent rate since 1994 and the 67 per cent rate for the past four quarters. On the revenue side, 59.8 per cent have beaten expectations, slightly below the 61 per cent rate since 2002 but above the 58 per cent rate for the past four quarters.

The S&P 500 is up 3.7 percent for the week, putting the index on track for its best week since the start of 2013, boosted largely by solid corporate earnings reports. The benchmark index is down 2.7 per cent from its record high set on Sept. 18 as it slumped more than 7 per cent during the four-week drop.

Investors continued to monitor developments on the Ebola virus. The doctor being treated for Ebola in a New York City hospital is in stable condition, the city’s health commissioner said on Friday, while the World Health Organization set out plans for speeding up development and deployment of experimental Ebola vaccines.

Dow Jones industrial average rose 71.53 points, or 0.43 per cent, to 16,749.43, the S&P 500 gained 6.2 points, or 0.32 per cent, to 1,957.02 and the Nasdaq Composite added 9.38 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 4,462.17.

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes rose to a six-year high in September, up 0.2 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 467,000 units.

The largest percentage gainer on the S&P 500 was Edwards Lifesciences, which rose 10.8 per cent, while the largest decliner was Amazon.

The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 32 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 42 new highs and 37 new lows.

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