U.S. stocks ended the week on a solid note. At Friday's closing bell, the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.7% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.1%. The S&P 500 index moved 0.2% higher and closed at a record high. Consumer discretionary, technology and utility names led the way higher, while energy stocks lagged.
Microsoft (MSFT) was the most actively traded name on Friday and the big earnings-related winner, gaining more than 10%. On the other hand, Xerox (XRX) lost more than 8% after giving a lower profit outlook.
For the week, the Nasdaq gained more than 3%, buoyed by some strong technology earnings. The Dow 30 and S&P 500 also moved fractionally higher.
To date, earnings from S&P 500 companies have declined 0.9% in the first quarter. Of the 190 companies that have reported, 71% have exceeded expectations. According to S&P Capital IQ, this was below 74% at the same time last year, but above the historical average of 66%. Just 45% of companies have exceeded revenue expectations.
Looking ahead to next week, another 159 S&P 500 companies are scheduled to announce quarterly results. Apple (AAPL) headlines the calendar on Monday, following by Bristol-Myers (BMY), Merck (MRK), Pfizer (PFE) and Twitter (TWTR) on Tuesday. Marriott (MAR) and Time Warner (TWX) will post results on Wednesday, followed by Exxon Mobil (XOM), LinkedIn (LNKD) and Viacom (VIAB) on Thursday. Chevron (CVX) rounds out the week on Friday.
Next week will also be busy on the economic front, beginning with some housing and regional economic data. Wednesday morning brings the first look at first-quarter GDP, with economists predicting just 1% growth. Later that day, we'll get the latest interest rate decision and monetary policy statement from the FOMC.