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Stocks are on pace for best week since January 2013; Amazon plunges following dismal results

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NEW YORK — U.S. stocks advanced yet again Friday, putting the market on track for its best week in almost two years, led by strong quarterly earnings from Microsoft and UPS. Amazon sank after the company reported dismal third-quarter results, but it wasn't enough to drag the rest of the market down.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 105 points, or 0.6 percent, to 16,783 as of 2:30 p.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 10 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,961 and the Nasdaq composite is up 20 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,473.

GOOD NEWS: Investors got encouraging earnings news from two closely watched companies: Microsoft and UPS.

The software giant reported quarterly sales and profits well above analyst expectations, and cloud software services, a business that Microsoft was focusing on, also showed notable gains. Microsoft's stock rose 89 cents, or 2 percent, to $45.91.

UPS rose 62 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $101.10 after the company also reported strong quarterly results. UPS also expects December shipments to jump 11 percent from a year ago. Many investors consider UPS a bellwether for how the U.S. economy is doing, particularly during the crucial holiday shopping season.

"What matters most to the market are earnings expectations and corporate fundamentals, and so far they're looking pretty good," said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors.

CLEARANCE: Amazon dropped $26.40, or 8 percent, to $286.72 after the company reported a steeper-than-expected quarterly loss despite soaring revenue. Investors have grown impatient with Amazon, which has been unable to deliver profits even as its gains ground as one of the world's largest retail companies.

FED MEETING: Investors are now turning their focus to next week's Federal Reserve policy meeting for hints about the future of the central bank's bond-buying program. The program has kept interest rates extremely low to keep markets fluid. That has driven stocks higher. Recent mixed signals about the strength of the U.S. recovery have prompted speculation that the Fed might let the program continue for longer than previously anticipated.

PHOTO: This Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014 photo shows the facade of the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stocks rose again Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, putting the market on track for the best week in almost two years. Amazon plunged after the company reported dismal third-quarter results, but that wasn't enough to drag the rest of the market down. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
This Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014 photo shows the facade of the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stocks rose again Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, putting the market on track for the best week in almost two years. Amazon plunged after the company reported dismal third-quarter results, but that wasn't enough to drag the rest of the market down. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

GREAT WEEK: After the turbulence in the market last week, U.S. stocks are on pace for their best week in nearly two years. The S&P 500 is up 3.6 percent so far this week, the biggest gain since January 2013. But volatility can go both ways. Just as the market jumped sharply this week, it plunged just as sharply last week. Even with this week's gains, the S&P 500 is still down 0.9 percent for October.

"We've seen the market sell-off and we saw people buy on the bounce, and that looks like it will continue," said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial.

TO THE REPAIR SHOP: Ford fell 60 cents, or 4 percent, to $13.80 after the company reported a steep drop in profits. Net income dropped 34 percent to $835 million in the third quarter, mostly due to the costs of launching its new F-150 truck.

BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED: Procter & Gamble, the consumer products giant, rose $2.05, or 2.5 percent, to $85.28. The maker of Tide detergent and Bounty paper towels is looking to sell or spin off Duracell batteries. Disposable batteries have fallen out of favor because of rechargeable versions.

BUBBLY: SodaStream jumped $3.82, or 18 percent, to $24.93 on reports of a 10-week partnership with PepsiCo to sell Pepsi products for its carbonation machines.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell $1.08 to $81.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped the day before on reports of lower production in Saudi Arabia and signs of strength in the U.S. economy.

CURRENCIES, BONDS: The euro edged up to $1.267. The dollar slipped to 107.97 yen from 108.17 yen. Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.26 percent.

METALS: The price of gold rose $2.70 to $1,231.80 an ounce, silver rose two cents to $17.18 an ounce and copper was flat at $3.04 a pound.


AP Business Writer Steve Rothwell contributed to this report from New York.

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Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: This Oct. 2, 2014 photo shows a Wall Street sign adjacent to the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. Earnings gains from General Motors, 3M and other big companies are driving stocks sharply higher in early trading Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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