Nasdaq jumps 2.3 per cent, closes above 5,000 on tech earnings

NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks rose sharply Friday following strong earnings from Microsoft, Google parent Alphabet and Amazon that pushed the Nasdaq above 5,000 for the first time in two months.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index soared 111.82 points (2.27 per cent) to 5,031.86, its first close above 5,000 since Aug 19.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 157.54 (0.9 per cent) to 17,646.70, while the S&P 500 gained 22.64 (1.1 per cent) at 2,075.15.

Microsoft jumped 10.1 per cent, Alphabet 7.7 per cent and Amazon 6.2 per cent after all three tech giants wowed markets with higher profits, as well as big revenue gains for Alphabet and Amazon.

The good feeling about earnings from these three companies lifted other big tech stocks, including Apple (+3.1 per cent), Facebook (+2.5 per cent) and Netflix (+2.8 per cent).

Even Yahoo, which reported disappointing earnings earlier in the week, rose 4.7 per cent, while IBM, another earnings laggard, advanced 0.4 per cent.

US-listed Chinese companies Alibaba surged 6.5 per cent and Internet search company Baidu rose 2.7 per cent, benefitting from both the positive sentiment towards tech stocks and a move by the People's Bank of China to cut benchmark interest rates.

Shares of large banks pushed higher, including JPMorgan Chase (+1.1 per cent), Citigroup (+2.2 per cent) and Bank of America (+2.2 per cent).

Controversial drug company Valeant Pharmaceuticals International gained 5.7 per cent, recovering some of its losses in the prior two sessions after a research report accused the company of inflating its sales figures.

A handful of companies suffered bruising declines after reporting disappointing results, including footwear maker Skechers (-31.5 per cent), online radio company Pandora Media (-35.4 per cent), cybersecurity company Fortinet (-19.3 per cent) and waste-disposal company Stericyle (-19.3 per cent).

Dow member Procter & Gamble rose 2.9 per cent after it reported earnings from continuing operations that translated into 98 cents per share, three cents better than analyst expectations.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.08 per cent from 2.02 per cent Thursday, while the 30-year advanced to 2.9 per cent from 2.86 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.