The Nasdaq rose 1.55% in its best one-day percentage gain since Aug. 22. The index traded at an all-time intraday high and was on track to close above its previous record close by around 20 points.
Tech gains boosted the S&P 500 too. That index added 0.22%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was the laggard, however, after earnings disappointments from Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK) . The blue-chip index was up just 0.5%.
Alphabet Inc. rose almost 7% after the parent of Google smashed Wall Street's third-quarter earnings expectations. Alphabet reported third-quarter net income of $6.73 billion, or $9.57 a share, coasting past analyst estimates of $8.31. Revenue surged 23% year over year to $27.7 billion, higher than the $27.2 billion analysts were expecting.
Traffic acquisition costs, or what Google pays to get ads in front of mobile users, spiked 54% during the quarter but Wall Street didn't seem too concerned since Google's overall ad business continues to grow.
Microsoft Corp. also topped profit and sales estimates over its fiscal first quarter. Earnings of 84 cents a share beat estimates by 12 cents. Net income rose by 16%. Revenue climbed nearly 12% to $24.54 billion, coming in $980 million higher than anticipated. By segment, sales in its productivity and business processes unit, which includes Office products, rose by 28%, while its intelligent cloud business increased 14%.
The company provided upbeat guidance for its seasonally big fourth quarter, saying it expects revenue to come in between $56 billion and $60 billion, higher than consensus estimates of $54.2 billion.
Amazon's cloud computing product, Amazon Web Services, saw sales jump 42% annually to $4.6 billion, above forecasts of $4.51 billion. Amazon's international e-commerce reporting segment saw revenue rise 29% to $13.7 billion, a big improvement from the 17% growth in the second quarter.
Intel Corp. (INTC) posted a double-digit increase in profit thanks to strong demand for personal computer and server chips. Profit rose to $4.52 billion from $3.38 billion a year earlier. Revenue gained 2% to $16.1 billion. For the full year, the company anticipates earnings of $3.25 a share and sales of $62 billion, higher than its previous target of $3 a share and $61.3 billion.
The tech sector was by far the best performer on Friday. Other gainers included Apple Inc. (AAPL) , Facebook Inc. (FB) , Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSM) and Nvidia Corp. (NVDA) . The Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) added 2.3%.
Other earnings included Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) which topped analysts' estimates on its top- and bottom-line. The biotech company earned $2.27 a share in its third quarter, 14 cents higher than expected. Revenue fell 13% to $6.5 billion, but exceeded consensus by $110 million. The stock fell 4.5%.
Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) reported better performance over its third quarter than expected. Net income increased to 93 cents a share, 30 cents above levels a year earlier and better than estimates of 86 cents a share. Revenue of $66.2 billion exceeded estimates of $62.8 billion. Disruptions caused by Hurricane Harvey affected earnings by around 4 cents a share. The stock declined 0.8%.
More than half of S&P 500 companies have reported earnings so far this reporting season with the pace picking up significantly this week. Of those, 74% have exceeded earnings estimates and 65% have bested revenue consensus, according to Thomson Reuters. Analysts anticipate blended earnings growth of 5.3% and revenue growth of 4.8%.
Crude oil prices were slightly lower ahead of an afternoon reading on U.S. drilling activity. A number of refineries in the Texas and Louisiana region were shuttered in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in early September, but have since slowly come back online.
West Texas Intermediate crude was down 0.1% to $52.60 a barrel on Friday. West Texas Intermediate closed at a six-month high a day earlier.
The U.S. economy rose at a growth rate of 3% over the third quarter, according to a preliminary reading of GDP. That pace slowed slightly from a 3.1% rate in the second quarter. The figure, however, came in faster than an expected 2.5% growth rate from July to September. Consensus showed a broad range heading into the report with economists divided on how large an impact a series of hurricanes on the south and southeastern continental U.S. and Puerto Rico might have had. Consumer spending increased 2.4%.
Consumer sentiment in October settled at its best level in 13 years. The final reading of the University of Michigan's index came in at 100.7, slightly below an initial estimate of 101.1. September showed a reading of 95.7.
Retail shares were sharply lower on Friday after a profit warning from J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) . The retailer lost 18% after warnings of a disappointing third quarter and full year. A third-quarter loss of 40 cents to 45 cents a share was far sharper than an expected loss of 17 cents. For the full year, J.C. Penney expects adjusted earnings of 2 cents to 8 cents a share, a fraction of the previous range of 40 cents to 65 cents. J.C. Penney is set to report earnings on Nov. 10.
Updated from 9:39 a.m. ET, Oct. 27.
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