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Microsoft helps stocks end 3-day slide

Trader John Santiago works on the floor of

Trader John Santiago works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange last month. The U.S. government reported Aug. 8 that a measure of unemployment sank to its lowest level in more than five years. (July 29, 2013) Credit: AP

U.S. stocks advanced yesterday, ending a three-day losing skid as a rally in Microsoft helped lift the technology sector.

The three major U.S. stock indexes shook off early losses as Microsoft shares moved higher before closing up 2.58 percent at $32.89 in heavy volume. The Standard & Poor's information technology sector index rose 0.4 percent.

Shares of Tesla Motors jumped 14.34 percent to $153.48 a day after the electric carmaker posted an unexpected quarterly profit. The stock is up almost 350 percent in 2013.

Stocks had inched lower much of this week, pulling back from last week's record levels, on concerns that the Federal Reserve will start to reduce its stimulus efforts this year as the economy recovers. Gains in equities have been closely linked to the Fed's stimulative policy, and many investors are worried that economic growth may stall without the Fed's intervention.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 27.65 points to end at 15,498.32. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 0.39 percent to 1,697.48. The Nasdaq composite was up 0.41 percent to 3,669.124. -- Reuters

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