Dow, S&P 500 Maintain Winning Ways

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks finished with solid gains Friday as better-than-expected earnings from JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) lifted financials and reawakened earnings momentum seen earlier in the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 54 points, or 0.5%, to close at 11,786, within shouting distance of a session high of 11,794. The S&P 500 gained 9 points, or 0.7%, to settle at 1293, and the Nasdaq Composite finished ahead by 20 points, or 0.7%, to close at 2755.

The Dow and S&P 500 have now gained ground for seven consecutive weeks. This week, the Dow rose 0.9%, the S&P 500 shot up 1.7%, and the Nasdaq was the biggest winner, surging nearly 2%.

Shares of JPMorgan Chase gained 1% to $44.91 after the bank beat Wall Street's expectations with fourth-quarter earnings of $1.12 a share and sales that rose 13% from last year to $26 billion. Analysts had been projecting a profit of 99 cents on revenue of $24.4 billion.

Bank of America ( BAC), American Express ( AXP) and JPMorgan Chase were the Dow's biggest percentage gainers, and the Financial Select Sector ETF ( XLF) rose 1.6% to $16.72. Twenty-one of the Dow's 30 components finished Friday in the green.

Merck ( MRK), Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), Intel ( INTC), and Verizon Communications ( VZ) were among the Dow's biggest laggards.

The New York Stock Exchange saw 1 billion shares changing hands, while close to 2 billion shares were traded on the Nasdaq. Market breadth was weighted slightly to the positive, with 58% of shares on the NYSE gaining ground while 39% declined.

Late Thursday, Intel reported fourth-quarter earnings of 59 cents a share, beating Wall Street's consensus view by 6 cents. Sales of $11.5 billion also exceeded expectations. The stock, however, closed 0.9% lower at $21.08.

BP ( BP) announced a share-swap agreement with Rosneft, a Russian state-controlled oil company, after the bell on Friday. Shares gained 3.6% to $49.25 ahead of the report.

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