Google earnings, takeovers lift US stocks

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NEW YORK—US stocks rose Friday after a blockbuster earnings report from Google and a pair of multibillion-dollar takeover bids helped overshadow the debt-ceiling debacle in Washington.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 42.61 points (0.34 percent) to close at 12,479.73.
The broader S&P 500 climbed 7.27 points (0.56 percent) to 1,316.14, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rallied 27.13 points (0.98 percent) to close at 2,789.80.

Google pushed up the Nasdaq, rising 13.0 percent after it reported late Thursday that its second-quarter net income climbed to $2.51 billion on record-high revenue of more than $9 billion.

US billionaire investor Carl Icahn made an unsolicited offer to buy Clorox in a deal valued at $12.6 billion, pushing Clorox stock up 8.9 percent.

In another major deal, Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton unveiled a $12.1 billion takeover of US natural gas firm Petrohawk Energy Corp., leading Petrohawk’s shares to skyrocket 62.5 percent.

The Google, Clorox and Petrohawk news “certainly set a positive tone to start the day,” said Michael James, senior equity trader with Wedbush Morgan Securities.

“There are still unresolved issues in Europe regarding the sovereign debt issues and the debt ceiling talks (in Washington). It is going to be a weight on the market limiting upside until it gets resolved,” James added.

US President Barack Obama warned of economic “Armageddon” if Democrats and Republicans fail to reach a deal to raise the federal government’s debt limit to avert a potentially disastrous default by August 2.

Europe’s economic picture improved slightly after the European Union’s bank regulator announced that only eight of 91 banks had flunked the latest round of stress tests, fewer than expected.

Shares of Citigroup sank 1.6 percent after the banking giant released its second-quarter earnings.

Citigroup’s net income increased to $3.3 billion in the April-June period, up 24 percent from the same period last year, but its stock sank after the company said its expenses this year would be higher than forecast.

Toy-maker Mattel, creator of the Barbie doll, gained 1.9 percent after reporting that second-quarter net income grew 56 percent from the same period last year.

Bond prices were mixed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.91 percent from 2.94 percent late Thursday, while that on the 30-year bond climbed to 4.25 percent from 4.24 percent.

Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

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