Earnings lift S&P 500, Nasdaq; S&P's best week since July
The two were the latest to post earnings that topped expectations, helping to lift the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq to their fourth straight daily advance. Tech bellwethers Google and IBM fell on disappointing figures and limited the broader market's gain. IBM's slide pushed the Dow into slightly negative territory at the close.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 16.31 points, or 0.10 percent, to end at 16,408.54. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 2.54 points, or 0.14 percent, to finish at 1,864.85. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 9.29 points, or 0.23 percent, to close at 4,095.52.
For the week, the Dow rose 2.4 percent, the S&P 500 added 2.7 percent and the Nasdaq advanced 2.4 percent. The Dow had its best week since December while the S&P 500 closed out its best week since July.
Trading volume was light ahead of the Good Friday market holiday. About 6.1 billion shares traded on all US platforms, according to BATS exchange data, below the month-to-date average of 6.88 billion.
Shares of China's Weibo Corp opened slightly below the $17 pricing of its initial public offering, which was at the lower end of expectations on concerns about the microblogging service's slowing user growth. The stock, however, turned sharply higher in afternoon trading and ended up 19.1 percent at $20.24.
About 56 percent of stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange ended the day higher while 61 percent of Nasdaq-listed shares ended in positive territory.
European equities finished higher after losing ground earlier in the session, with upbeat results from major US companies like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and General Electric improving sentiment.
Encouraging US results helped cyclical sectors to gather pace, with the STOXX Europe Automobile and Auto Parts index rising 2.1 percent to become the top performing sector.
The travel and leisure index rose 1.7 percent, while insurers were up 1.2 percent.
A rally in cylical stocks following soothing US company results helped the FTSEurofirst 300 of top European shares to close 0.5 percent higher at 1,328.71 points.
However, investors remained wary of placing strong bets before a four-day Easter weekend in Europe and as some European companies reported earnings that were knocked by currency effects.