NEW YORK (AP) — Microsoft and IBM drove the Dow Jones industrial average up in Friday trading after the tech giants reported stronger earnings than analysts had expected.
But an earnings miss by Google caused its stock to plunge Friday, and other indexes were slightly lower.
The Dow rose 51 points to 12,675 as of noon Eastern time. That’s a gain of 0.4 percent.
Microsoft said sales of Xbox games and Office software helped push revenue up in the last quarter of 2011. IBM credited better sales of software and services and raised its earnings outlook for the year. Both Microsoft and IBM gained 4.3 percent.
In other trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 4 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,310. The Nasdaq composite fell 7, or 0.3 percent, to 2,781.
Plenty of things are going right, said Frank Fantozzi, CEO of Planned Financial Services, an independent wealth manager in Cleveland. Applications for unemployment benefits dropped last week to the lowest level in nearly four years. Housing sales are steadily rising. And even though high-profile companies such as Google and JPMorgan Chase have posted disappointing earnings results in the past week, the bulk of companies are beating estimates, he said.
“Overall, we’re moving in the right direction and it’s bolstered the market,” Fantozzi said. “The S&P getting over 1,300 this week is a nice sign.
Google lost 8.2 percent after its earnings per share fell a dollar short of analysts’ estimates. The misfire stemmed from an 8 percent drop in prices that the Internet search giant charges advertisers for each click.
The National Association of Realtors said that home sales rose 5 percent in December, the third straight monthly increase.
Concerns about debt talks in Greece still hang over the market. Greece is in the middle of talks with creditors to reduce its debts and avoid a default. A deal is needed to help Greece avoid a default when a (euro) 14.5 billion bond repayment comes due in March.
Among other companies in the news:
— GE fell 1 percent after reporting earnings and revenue that fell short of estimates. The sale of GE’s majority stake in NBC Universal to Comcast last year hurt the company’s results. The conglomerate, whose products include jet engines and light bulbs, also reported slower growth in Europe.
— Capital One Financial lost 6 percent. The bank and credit-card company’s earnings sank 41 percent as expenses for marketing, salaries and legal fees jumped compared with the year before.
— Schlumberger rose less than 1 percent. The oil-field services company’s quarterly profit surged 36 percent, helped by exploration work in the Middle East and Africa. The company also raised its quarterly dividend to 27.5 cents.
All three indexes are on track to end the week with gains. The Dow is up 2 percent and the S&P 500 1.7 percent.
Stocks have been on a slow and steady climb to start 2012. The S&P 500 has closed higher on 10 of 12 days and is up 4.2 percent for the year.