Google Rescues Stocks

An early sell-off Friday on worries about GE (NYSE: GE) and global economic growth turned out to be a buying opportunity, as stocks opened near their lows and spent the rest of the day climbing higher.

Technology investors had the most to cheer about, as Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) propelled the Nasdaq to a 0.8% gain after the company joined Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) as one of the few bright spots in a dismal earnings reporting season. Google shares gained 6% after the company beat earnings and sales estimates after factoring out an impairment charge.

Google’s results — along with hopes for quick passage of the Obama administration’s planned stimulus package — were good enough to encourage investors even as GE fell 10% on dividend and credit worries and the UK reported a 1.5% drop in fourth-quarter GDP.

U.S. fourth-quarter GDP next week is expected to show a steep 5% decline. Next week will also see a long list of earnings reports from names like (NASDAQ: AMZN), EMC (NYSE: EMC), Sun (NASDAQ: JAVA), Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO), Juniper (NASDAQ: JNPR) and Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN).

AMD (NYSE: AMD) gained 2.5% despite another tough quarter, while Samsung’s first quarterly loss followed losses by Sony and LG Electronics, signaling a weak electronics market.

Satyam (NYSE: SAY) jumped 60% on hopes for new funding.

Marvell (NASDAQ: MRVL) gained 8.7% despite lowering guidance, but Microsemi (NASDAQ: MSCC) fell 21% on its outlook.

Limelight Networks (NASDAQ: LLNW) jumped 27% on a favorable patent ruling.

The Nasdaq rose 12 to 1477, the S&P 500 gained 4 to 831, and the Dow lost 45 to 8077. Volume declined to 6.83 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.23 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 20-17 margin on the NYSE, but decliners held a 14-13 edge on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 66% on the NYSE, and 75% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 11-172 on the NYSE, and 5-169 on the Nasdaq.

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