Dow, S&P 500 Climb to Record Highs

U.S. stocks ended higher on Thursday, with the S&P 500 and the Dow industrials climbing to record closing highs as Morgan Stanley and others reported better-than-expected earnings and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s comments further reassured markets.The Dow Jones industrial average rose 78.02 points, or 0.50 percent, to end at 15,548.54. The S &P 500 Index gained 8.46 points, or 0.50 percent, to finish at 1,689.37. The Nasdaq Composite Index added just 1.28 points, or 0.04 percent, to close at 3,611.28.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke weighed into the contentious debate over the future of the U.S. housing finance system on Thursday, saying some sort of backstop for mortgages was needed to protect the financial system in times of stress.

Detroit on Thursday became the largest city in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy, as the state-appointed emergency manager filed for Chapter 9 protection.

Google’s financial performance faltered in the second quarter as a downturn in the Internet search leader’s ad prices deepened. Google earned $3.2 billion, or $9.54 per share, up 16 percent from $2.8 billion, or $8.42 per share, a year earlier.Revenue rose 19 percent to $14.1 billion.

Microsoft Corp on Thursday reported lower-than expected quarterly earnings as slow personal computer sales ate into its Windows business and it took a large unexpected charge for its inventory of unsold Surface tablets. The company reported fiscal fourth-quarter profit of 59 cents per share, compared with a 6 cents per share loss in the year-ago quarter when it wrote off the cost of a failed acquisition.

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