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US stocks surge despite crises in Ukraine, Gaza

US stocks surged higher as strong Google earnings and a large pharmaceutical deal offset worries about worsening international crises in Ukraine and Gaza.

NEW YORK: US stocks surged higher on Friday as strong Google earnings and a large pharmaceutical deal offset worries about worsening international crises in Ukraine and Gaza.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 123.37 points (0.73 per cent) to 17,100.18.

The broad-based S&P 500 powered up 20.10 (1.03 per cent) to 1,978.22, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index leaped by 68.70 (1.57 per cent) to 4,432.15.

Friday's gains in the Nasdaq more than counterbalanced the losses from Thursday in the wake of the crash of a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane in the conflict zone of eastern Ukraine. All three indices finished with gains for the week.

"Investors are continuing to embrace risk and buy every dip," said David Levy, portfolio manager at Kenjol Capital Management.

"Many investors fear missing out on the bull market," said Gregori Volokhine, president of Meeschaert Capital Markets.

Google shot up 3.7 per cent as second-quarter earnings rose six per cent to US$3.42 billion on a 22 per cent increase in revenues behind more "paid clicks."

Drug maker AbbVie sealed a tax-cutting US$54 billion takeover deal with Dublin-based Shire Pharmaceuticals as it plans to switch its tax base to Britain to avoid higher US taxes. AbbVie rose 2.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, the United States on Friday built a case that pro-Moscow separatists downed a Malaysian airliner in Ukraine with a surface-to-air missile, killing all 298 people on board - with the possible technical assistance of Russians.

And Israel warned of a wider Gaza assault as the Palestinian death count reached 289 on the 11th day of its campaign.

Many technology stocks rose, including Apple (+1.4 per cent), Amazon (+1.8 per cent) and Facebook (+3.0 per cent), all of which report earnings next week.

Dow component General Electric finished 0.6 per cent lower as earnings of 39 cents per share matched analyst expectations on revenues that came in slightly below analyst forecasts.

Logistics firm FedEx was charged by a federal grand jury with shipping prescription drugs and controlled substances for illegal Internet pharmacies, but nevertheless advanced 0.6 per cent.

Airlines, which were punished Thursday following the Malaysia Airlines crash, rallied. American Airlines (+2.9 per cent), Delta Air Lines (+1.7 per cent) and United Continental (+2.1 per cent) all rose.

Bond prices were mixed. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.48 per cent from 2.47 per cent on Thursday, while the 30-year held steady at 3.29 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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