Most U.S. Stocks Gain

Most U.S. stocks gained as better- than-estimated earnings at Google Inc. and progress on a government plan to revive the economy offset profit drops at companies from General Electric to Xerox Corp., Bloomberg 1/23/2009 2:31:41 PM

Google, operator of the most popular Internet search engine, jumped 5.9 percent. Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp. and General Motors Co. climbed at least 5.1 percent after a Senate committee announced parts of its stimulus plan and President Barack Obama pushed congressional leaders to reach a consensus on the $825 billion spending package. GE tumbled 11 percent, leading the Dow Jones Industrial Average lower, and Xerox slid more than 7 percent.

About four stocks advanced for every three that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. The S&P 500 rebounded from an earlier 2.6 percent loss, rising 0.5 percent to 831.95. The Dow slipped 45.24, or 0.6 percent, to 8,077.56 after tumbling 213.77 points earlier. The Russell 2000 Index increased 0.3 percent.

The S&P 500 fell 2.1 percent over the past four days, capping a third-straight weekly decline, and is down 7.9 percent on the year. The Dow slipped 2.5 percent in the week and is down 8 percent in 2009.

European stocks fell for a fifth straight day, sending the Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index to the lowest in two months, as concern deepened the global economic slump will erode earnings.

The Stoxx 600 dropped 0.2 percent to 182.49, the lowest since Nov. 21. Disappointing earnings from Nokia Oyj to Microsoft Corp. and concern banks may need to raise further capital to shore up their balance sheets sent the measure to its second week of losses.

The U.K. economy shrank more than economists forecast during the fourth quarter in the biggest contraction since 1980. Gross domestic product fell 1.5 percent from the previous quarter.

National benchmark indexes fell in 12 of 18 western European markets. Germany’s DAX dropped 1 percent. France’s CAC 40 retreated 0.7 percent as Axa SA declined. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 was little changed.

Asian stocks fell, dragging the regional benchmark index down for a third week, as losses at Sony Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. showed the global recession is hurting profits.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 3.8 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 4.1 percent to a five-year low.