US markets gain for third day

2011-03-25 22:28

New York - Wall Street advanced for a third straight day on Friday, giving the S&P 500 its best weekly performance since early February, but volume remained light as global uncertainty persisted.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 50.03 points, or 0.41 percent, to end unofficially at 12,220.59. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 4.14 points, or 0.32 percent, to 1,313.80. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 6.64 points, or 0.24 percent, to close unofficially at 2,743.06.

For the week, the S&P 500 rose 2.7 percent. The Dow finished the week with a 3.1 percent gain, while the Nasdaq climbed 3.8 percent.

"Better-than-forecasted earnings from Oracle Corp. and Accenture Plc are helping the markets extend the week's gains, despite continued euro-area debt concerns, Middle East tensions, and the nuclear crisis in Japan," said analysts at brokerage Charles Schwab.

Oracle shares gained after their fiscal third quarter earnings came in above analyst estimates, as they said revenues were growing at a 36% annual rate in the period.

Accenture shares jumped after they beat earnings forecasts by 5.6% and predicted strong growth in the coming quarter.

The markets were also buoyed by the Commerce Department's revision of fourth quarter expansion. That pushed the full-year growth figure slightly up to 2.9%, after 2009's contraction.

But it also showed that cutbacks to government spending at all levels - but mainly state and local - are holding back growth.