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Stocks: Nasdaq, S&P 500 close at new records

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Stocks: Nasdaq, S&P 500 close at new records

Wall Street closed out an historic week Friday as the Nasdaq composite and Standard & Poor’s 500 indexes closed at records, the first time both were at new highs since the peak of the dotcom bubble 15 years ago. The Nasdaq jumped 36.02 points, or 0.7%, to end at 5092.08 for its second record close in a row. The S&P rose for a fifth straight day, gaining 4.76 points, or 0.2%, to 2117.69. That small gain was enough to barely push the market benchmark above its previous record close of 2117.39 on March 2.635654579334602909-AP-FINANCIAL-MARKETS-WALL-STREET-72469030

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 21.45 points, or 0.1%, to 18,080.14. It remains about 208 points away from its March 2 record close of 18,288.63. For the week, the Nasdaq surged 3.2% and the S&P 500 jumped 1.8%. The Dow added 1.4%. And now all three U.S. stock market measures are back on track for 2015 after a recent swoon. The Nasdaq is leading the resurgence, up 7.5% — far ahead of the 2.9% gain in the S&P and 2.6% rise in the Dow this year.

The Nasdaq on Friday was powered by strong profit results from tech titans Microsoft and amazon. Amazon surged 14% after it revealed details of its cloud computing service. Microsoft jumped 10.5% as it easily beat Wall Street estimates. Markets have been responding positively to earnings that are coming out better-than-expected and a lower profit shortfall than analysts were forecasting.

A spate of profit beats early in the first-quarter reporting season have trimmed the expected profit contraction to 1.5%. While a 1.5% projected drop in earnings would still mark the first negative quarter for profits since the financial crisis back in 2009, it’s better than the 2.9% profit shortfall that analysts were forecasting back on April 1, according to data from earnings-tracker Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The big hits to earnings this quarter are due in large part to the strength of the U.S. dollar vs. many key foreign currencies, which makes U.S. exports more expensive and crimps sales abroad.

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