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  • Dow Jones Industrial Average up 23.69 (+0.18%) to 13,228.31
  • S&P 500up 3.38 (+0.24%) to 1,403.36
  • Nasdaq Composite Index up 18.59 (+0.61% to 3,069.20

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

  • Hang Seng Index down 0.33%
  • China Shanghai Composite Index down 0.35%

Stocks added to small gains from earlier today to finish the week with four straight days of gains, including just enough of a push to carry the Dow Jones Industrial Average to positive territory for the month of April. All but one industry sector in the S&P 500 finished in the black this afternoon, with Procter & Gamble Co dragging down consumer staple stocks after paring its full-year earnings guidance.

Stocks largely traded higher through the day, with investors balancing new economic data - including the pace of U.S. economic growth slowing in Q1 - with a fresh batch of mostly positive company earnings.

Gross domestic product grew at an inflation-adjusted annual rate of 2.2% during the first three months of the year, down from a final 3.0% reading in the prior quarter, the Commerce Department reported today. The slow-down was slightly steeper than forecasts, with experts polled by Thomson Reuters and other media organizations anticipating a preliminary 2.5% reading for the quarter.

There were several signs of underlying strength in the Q1 GDP report, however, with consumer spending rising 2.9%, up from 2.1% in Q4 and hitting its fastest pace since the final three months of 2010. Home construction also continued to accelerate although business investment fell for the first time in nine quarters as spending on equipment and software eased.

Consumer attitudes rose during April to a final 76.4 reading for the month from 76.2 in March, according to the University of Michigan/Thomson Reuters Consumer Sentiment Index. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a 75.7 reading, matching the preliminary number for the index earlier this month.

Three component companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average reported earnings today, with shares of Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX) and Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE:PG) sliding after the oil and gas major came up short of Wall Street revenue forecasts and the consumer-products conglomerate cut its full-year earnings guidance.

The third Dow component, Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK), is up about 1% after beating analyst profit estimates as its sales of diabetes treatments rose. The pharmaceutical company said net income, ex items, rose to $0.99 a share on $11.7 billion in revenues, boosted by higher sales of its Januvia and Janumet diabetes drugs.

Commodities are mostly higher today with crude oil for June delivery adding 0.4% to settle at $104.93 a barrel. June gold rose $4.40 to $1,664 an ounce.

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) CRAY, Reports $0.13 a share Q1 profit, $0.10 better than expected by analysts.

(+) JAZZ, Agreed to acquire EUSA Pharma for $650 million in cash.

(+) EXPE, 0.26 Q1 per-share profit crushes $0.14 a share expected by Wall Street.

(+) AMZN, $13.18 billion in Q1 sales beats Street consensus by $280 million.

(+) SWKS, Reports Q2 earnings of $0.42 a share vs. EPS of $0.40 expected by analysts.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) MDRX, Cut FY12 EPS forecast from $1.06 to $0.80 a share; CFO, three directors quit.

(-) SBUX, Q2 same-store sales rise 7%; analysts expected a 8.2% increase.

(-) ZNGA, Social network gamer beats analysts' Q1 revenue estimates.

(-) DECK, Q1 EPS of $0.25 misses analyst estimates by $0.05; revs in line.

(-) MXWL, Q1 revenues of $39.2 million trail estimates by $1.15 million.

Source: Positive Ending To Strong Week