Markets Gain as Strong Earnings Outweigh Weaker Consumer Sentiment

NEW YORK(TheStreet) -- Markets on Friday finished a choppy week in positive territory after Amazon  (AMZN), the world's largest online retailer, and shipping leader United Parcel Service  (UPS), posted earnings that bolstered the outlook for the U.S. economic recovery.
Meanwhile, a drop in consumer confidence fed speculation the Federal Reserve will delay curbing its equity-supportive stimulus program.

The S&P 500 closed up 0.4% to 1,759.77 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average also added 0.4% to 15,570.28. The Nasdaq rose 0.37% to 3,943.36. For the week, the S&P 500 and Dow increased 0.88% and 1.1%, respectively. The Nasdaq booked a 13-year closing high and climbed 0.74% for the week.

"We were worried about this week's employment report; we were worried about about last week's debt ceiling," Erik Davidson, deputy chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank, said in a phone interview from San Francisco. "And at least in this little bubble of time that we have, those worries are behind us, [but] when you run out of things to worry about that's when you probably need to start worrying."

U.S. consumer sentiment fell to its lowest level since the end of last year during October, as consumers worried the debt ceiling and partial federal government shutdown, data on Friday showed.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's final reading on the index on consumer sentiment fell to 73.2 in October from 77.5 in September - the lowest final reading since December 2012.

"Big cap tech stocks have been some of the weakest performers this year but now we see them playing catch-up with some decent earnings," Paul Karos, senior portfolio manager at Whitebox Mutual Funds said in a phone interview. Karos helps oversee $2.5 billion in total assets at Whitebox.

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