Stocks Ended Week With Gains On Earnings

U.S. stocks closed moderately higher on Friday, as investors weigh news of higher corporate profit against disappointing economic news. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 23.69 points, or 0.18%, to 13,228.31. The S&P 500 rose 3.38 points, or 0.24%, to 1,403.36 for a weekly gain of 1.8%. The Nasdaq Composite added 18.59 points, or 0.61%, to 3,069.20. It rose 2.3% for the week.

Despite a 35% drop in net income, Amazon.com managed to win a lot of Wall Street praise Friday for posting a second straight quarter of improving profit margins. Late Thursday, Amazon reported a 34% jump in sales for the first quarter, along with operating income of $192 million.

Amazon.com Inc.’s tablet computer is catching on in a big way, having grabbed 54.4% of the Android tablet market by the end of February, the fourth month that it was on sale, according to new data from comScore Inc. That represented a near doubling of the Fire’s Android market share since December, when it was at 29.4%.

The annualized pace of expansion for the world’s biggest economy came in at 2.2% in the first quarter of 2012, slower than the 3% registered in the final three months of last year, according to a preliminary reading by the Commerce Department.

Spain’s notoriously stagnant job market is at the root of its economic crisis. The Spanish government reported that its unemployment rate rocketed to a record high of 24.4% in the first quarter.

Crude futures ended higher Friday, extending a winning streak to a fourth session and shaking off earlier weakness on a debt downgrade for Spain and sluggish U.S. growth. Crude for June delivery advanced 38 cents, or 0.4%, to settle at $104.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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