NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose on Friday, thanks to an earnings-inspired rally in General Electric ( GE), but the Nasdaq Composite continued to slip.

The Dow gained 49 points, or 0.4%, to close at 11,872, after rising as high as 11,905 earlier in the session. The S&P 500 was higher by 3 points, or 0.2%, at 1283, but the Nasdaq Composite fell 15 points, or 0.5%, to finish at 2689, losing ground for a third straight session.

The Dow gained for the eight week in a row, adding 0.7% to close at a new 30-month high of 11,872. The S&P 500 snapped its winning streak, losing 0.7% of its value over the week. The Nasdaq was the weakest of the major U.S. equity indices, shedding more than 2% this past week.

Earnings reported so far have been largely positive but the reports have been weighted heavily towards financials, which were expected to beat expectations.

Jim Paulsen, of Wells Capital Management says stocks are still cheap on a one-year forward basis. "The S&P is still down 20% from all-time highs. Yet earnings are up 50% from the previous peak. At the same time bond yields have fallen by half," said Paulsen. "There is still a lot of room for stocks to rise."

Shares of General Electric powered the Dow's gains Friday, jumping 7.1% to $19.74, after the company beat analysts' estimates with earnings of 36 cents on sales of $41.1 billion. Wall Street had been expecting earnings of 32 cents a share on sales of $39.9 billion.

In addition, President Obama tabbed GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt as the head of his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

3M ( MMM), American Express ( AXP), Chevron ( CVX), Exxon Mobil ( XOM), Hewlett- Packard ( HPQ), JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) and Walt Disney ( DIS) all rose more than 1% as gainers outpaced decliners, 18 to 12, among the blue chips.

Bank of America ( BAC) topped the losers list on the Dow. The Charlotte, N.C.-based banking behemoth reported a $1.2 billion loss, reflecting a $2 billion goodwill impairment charge. Excluding one-time items, earnings were 4 cents a share, a dime below the profit of 14 cents a share that analysts had been expecting. The stock shed 1.9% at $14.25

Caterpillar ( CAT), Microsoft ( MSFT) and Alcoa ( AA) were also weak spots for the Dow.
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Volume totaled roughly 1.2 billion on the New York Stock Exchange and 1.9 billion on the Nasdaq. Breadth was split on the major exchanges with winners ahead of losers on the Big Board, 1582 to 1422, while decliners outnumbered advancers, 1,549 to 1,073, on the Nasdaq.

Large and regional banks were seeing strength on Friday, with Morgan Stanley ( MS) putting on 3.4% to $30.01, while Wells Fargo ( WFC) and Citigroup ( C) rose nearly 2%.

Regional bank SunTrust ( STI) swung to profit in the fourth quarter, reporting a net income $114 million, or 23 cents a share, compared to a net loss of $248 million, or 64 cents, in the fourth quarter of 2009. Analysts were expecting earnings of 7 cents per share. Shares surged 5.8% to $29.50.

BB&T ( BBT) said profits rose 12% to $208 million, or 30 cents per share, beating estimates by 4 cents. Shares rose 4.8% to $28.39.

The SPDR KBW Bank ETF ( KBE) gained 1.6%.

Oilfield services company Schlumberger ( SLB) topped analysts' estimates with adjusted fourth-quarter earnings of 85 cents a share and sales of $9.07 billion. Analysts had been looking for a profit of 77 cents a share on sales of $8.7 billion. The stock was down 2.1% to $83.48.

Shares of Intuitive Surgical ( ISRG) soared 12.7% to $326.58 after the maker of robotic surgery equipment said profits rose 56% in the fourth quarter to $121.2 million or $3.02 per share.

News Corp. ( NWSA) shares spurted 4.5% to $15.32 on reports that it might consider concessions, including spinning off Sky News , to avoid a lengthy review of its bid to take full control of BSkyB.

Other prominent gainers within the S&P 500 included Dean Foods ( DF) and Capital One Financial, while Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD), People's United Financial ( PBCT) and First Horizon ( FHN) were among the major losers.

In commodity markets, the March crude oil contract fell 48 cents lower at $89.11 a barrel. The February gold contract shed $5 to settle at $1,341 an ounce. Gold prices have been struggling as emerging economies embark on monetary tightening.

The dollar weakened against a basket of currencies with the dollar index down by 0.9%. The benchmark 10-year Treasury note was up by 2/32, diluting the yield to 3.447%.

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Overseas, Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.5% and Japan's Nikkei declined 1.6%. London's FTSE and the DAX in Frankfurt gained 0.5% each.

-- Written by Melinda Peer and Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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