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Stocks up as earnings outweigh fiscal data

Robert Arciero, right, works with fellow traders on

Robert Arciero, right, works with fellow traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan on Monday. Wall Street headed for a mixed opening Friday April 27, 2012, with Dow Jones industrial futures slipping marginally while the S&P 500 futures fell 0.1 percent (April 23, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

It took a while, but the Dow Jones industrial average gained back all its losses for the month.

As investors weighed disappointing economic news against reports of higher profits at big companies, stocks inched higher. All three major indexes were up Friday.

The Dow climbed 23.69 points to 13,228.31. That was enough to push the index into the black for April. It's now 16 points higher than where it began the month.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 3.38 points to 1,403.36. The Nasdaq composite rose 18.59 points to 3,069.20.

Amazon.com jumped 16 percent after the online retailer reported a big increase in shipments. Online travel agency Expedia Inc. surged 24 percent on higher profits from its hotel-booking business.

Companies in the S&P 500 are on track to report a 6 percent rise in earnings for 2012's first quarter compared with a year ago, according to FactSet, a financial data provider. Last month analysts had expected earnings this quarter to be flat.

The stock gains Friday came despite a government report earlier in the day that the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2.2 percent during the first quarter, below the 2.5 percent that economists had expected. It grew at a faster rate, 3 percent, in the final three months of 2011. -- AP

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