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TheStreet Open House

Stocks Rally, Reversing a Slump, as Earnings Give a Jolt

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Major U.S. equity indices rallied Friday and the Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to erase losses from two consecutive losing sessions. Stocks also got a lift from Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) promising earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 120 points, or 0.9%, to 14,001. The index is up 6.8% this year.

Breadth within the Dow was positive, as winners outpaced losers 25 to five. Hewlett-Packard, Home Depot (HD) and Coca-Cola (KO) were the biggest leaders on the Dow.

HP reported Thursday a profit of 82 cents a share on revenue of $28.4 billion. Analysts predicted the PC maker would post earnings of 71 cents a share on revenue of $27.79 billion during its fiscal first quarter.

HP said its outlook for the second quarter was for profit of 80 cents to 82 cents a share, and full-year earnings of $3.40 to $3.60 a share, higher than Wall Street's estimate of $3.32. Shares surged 12% on Friday.

Pfizer (PFE), UnitedHealth Group (UNH) and Alcoa (AA) were among the biggest decliners on the blue-chip index.

Volumes totaled 3.35 billion shares on the New York Stock Exchange and 1.57 billion shares on the Nasdaq. Advancers beat declining issues by a 3.1-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.6-to-1 ratio on the tech-heavy index.

The S&P 500 added 13 points, or 0.9%, to 1,516. The index dropped 0.3% for the week. Nasdaq tacked on 30 points, or 1%, to 3,162. It lost 0.95% for the shortened trading week.

No major economic reports were released Friday. Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell spoke at a monetary policy forum at the Grand Hyatt in New York on Friday. Powell said he did not believe the challenges Congress faces as it regards short-term fiscal policy will interfere with the central bank's monetary policy.

"No current market signal suggests that the United States is near the point of losing the market's confidence," Powell said at the forum. "The market has every reason to believe -- and apparently still does believe -- that the United States will continue the difficult task of fiscal consolidation until the job is done."

Stocks slumped on Thursday after jobless claims rose more than expected and general business conditions came in soft. The early part of Thursday's session showed that equities continued to reel from the minutes of the Fed's January meeting, as it suggested central bankers were more open to scaling back quantitative-easing measures in 2013.

Gold futures for April delivery slid $5.80 to settle at $1,572.80 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while futures for April crude oil contracts climbed 29 cents to close at $93.13 a barrel.

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