Market Wrap: Tech Giants Propel Nasdaq, S&P to Record Highs

U.S. Stocks Rise As S&P 500 Index Gains
Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesTraders at work Friday on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

By Noel Randewich

The Nasdaq composite and S&P 500 chalked up record high closes Friday, propelled by strong results from tech behemoths Google, Amazon and Microsoft.

The Nasdaq composite added 0.7 percent to end at 5,092.09, its second straight record high close. The S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent to a record high close of 2,117.69 points, barely above its previous high of 2,117.39 set on March 2. (AMZN) surged 14.1 percent to a lifetime high after revenue beat estimates.

Google (GOOGL) ended 2.9 percent after reporting higher quarterly results while Microsoft (MSFT) jumped 10.5 percent after it topped estimates.

%VIRTUAL-pullquote-This chapter that the Nasdaq is writing is more suggestive that it's a market that, while still technology-weighted, is much more mature.%The S&P had hit an intraday high of 2,120.92. The Nasdaq earlier reached 5,100.371, the highest since its intraday record of 5,132.52 in March 2000 that marked the peak of the dot-com bubble.

"This chapter that the Nasdaq is writing is more suggestive that it's a market that, while still technology-weighted, is much more mature," said Steven Baffico, chief executive officer at Four Wood Capital Partners in New York. "The companies in it reflect that, companies like Cisco and Microsoft."

Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Starbucks (SBUX) accounted for the bulk of the Nasdaq's rise Friday.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) closed up 21.45 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,080.14. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GSPC) gained 4.76 points and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 36.02 points.

For the week, the S&P gained 1.8 percent, the Nasdaq gained 3.3 percent and the Dow added 1.4 percent.

"This is a case of the equity market looking a little bit forward to oil being less of a drag going forward, and that earnings in the second half will be better than they are now," said Anthony Valeri, an investment strategist for LPL Financial in San Diego.

Earnings Season

While markets are at record highs, March-quarter earnings of S&P 500 companies are expected to slip 1.3 percent, with revenues dropping 3.5 percent as the dollar hurts U.S. multinationals and low oil prices affect energy companies, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Xerox (XRX) slumped 8.8 percent after it cut its 2015 profit forecast, blaming the strong dollar.

Time Warner Cable (TWC) jumped 4.4 percent on news Charter Communications' (CHTR) representatives reached out to begin discussions on a potential merger. Comcast (CMCSK) earlier abandoned its proposed $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable.

Apple (AAPL) could be among the biggest market drivers when it reports results after the bell Monday. Results next week from several big energy names, including Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX), could keep investors on edge.

Wall Street may get new clues on the timing of an interest rate hike when the Federal Reserve issues a statement following its two-day meeting Wednesday.

NYSE advancers outnumbered decliners 1,532 to 1,426, for a 1.07-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,456 issues fell and 1,246 advanced, for a 1.17-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 17 new 52-week highs and 1 new low; the Nasdaq composite recorded 88 new highs and 19 new lows.

About 6.2 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, on par with the daily average for the month to date, according to BATS Global Markets.

-With additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal.

What to watch Monday:

Earnings Season
These selected companies are scheduled to releaser quarterly financial results:

  • American Financial Group (AFG)

  • Apple (AAPL)

  • Canon (CAJ)

  • Churchill Downs (CHDN)

  • Hartford Financial Services Group (HIG)

  • J & J Snack Foods (JJSF)

  • Kyocera Corp. (KYO)

  • Lab Corp. (LH)

  • Plantronics (PLT)

  • Rent-A-Center (RCII)

  • Restaurant Brands International (QSR)

  • Roper Industries (ROP)

  • Tenneco (TEN)

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