Stocks gain for second week
NEW YORK — Stocks gained for a second straight week as company earnings reports started to come in, keeping the Standard and Poor’s 500 index within a fraction of its highest level in five years.
The S&P 500 was little changed Friday, and gained 5 points in the week to close at 1,472.05. The index is a fraction below its close of 1,472.12 Thursday, its highest level since December 2007.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 17.21 points to 13,488.43. The Nasdaq composite index rose 3.88 to 3,125.63. For the week, the Dow rose 53 and the Nasdaq rose 24.
Companies have started to report earnings for the fourth quarter of 2012, but no clear pattern has emerged as yet.
Aluminum company Alcoa gave stocks a lift after it reported earnings late Tuesday that matched analysts’ expectations and said demand was increasing. Investors were unimpressed by Wells Fargo’s record profits Friday, choosing instead to focus on the sustainability of those earnings.
Analysts expect fourth quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies to grow at a rate of 3.3 percent, according to the latest data from S&P Capital IQ. That’s a better growth rate than the previous quarter, but it’s considerably weaker than the 8.4 percent growth rate recorded in the same period last year.
Wells Fargo, the first major bank to report earnings, dropped even after the bank reported a 25 percent increase in fourth-quarter earnings. The bank’s stock fell 30 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $35.10.