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Dismal quarterly results from Microsoft and Google dragged the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 lower on Friday. Despite poor quarterly results from two major technology giants, the S&P 500 managed to eke out gains. In recent days, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s encouraging comments about the stimulus program have lifted the S&P 500 and the blue-chip index to record highs. The technology sector was the biggest loser among the S&P 500 industry groups. Energy stocks were the best performer.     

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today’s Ahead of Wall Street article.         

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) decreased 0.03% to close the day at 15,543.74. The S&P 500 added 0.2% to finish Friday’s trading session at 1,692.09. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.7% to end at 3,587.61. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) declined 8.9% to settle at 12.54. Consolidated volumes on the New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq were roughly 5.9 billion shares, below 2013’s average of 6.4 billion shares. Advancing stocks outnumbered the decliners. For the 49% that advanced, 47% declined.

Over the last week, the blue-chip index gained 0.5%, the S&P 500 increased 0.7% and the Nasdaq lost 0.4%. Trading sessions were mostly dominated by Bernanke’s semi-annual testimony and quarterly results. Bernanke said no definitive timeline has been set for the tapering of the bond buying program. He added that the decision depends on domestic economic data. If economic performance is not as expected, the bond purchase program may be extended and, if necessary, increased.

Two technology majors Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) reported quarterly results after the close of markets on Thursday. Shares of Microsoft tumbled more than 11% on Friday, after the company posted poor quarterly results. Both earnings and revenue came in below the Street’s expectations. Low sales of the Surface tablet and poor demand for its latest Windows system weighted on the company’s quarterly results. Microsoft chief financial officer Amy Hood said: “While our fourth quarter results were impacted by the decline in the PC market, we continue to see strong demand for our enterprise and cloud offerings, resulting in a record unearned revenue balance this quarter.”

Google Inc’s second quarter earnings and revenues also came in below the Street’s expectations. Google reported adjusted profits of $9.56 per share in comparison to the Street’s expectations of $10.78 per share. The company’s revenues came in at $14.1 billion. Earnings were affected by a fall in advertisement prices and losses from its Motorola mobile phone business. The company’s “cost-per-click” declined 6% from a year ago.

Technology shares took a hammering following dismal quarterly results from Google and Microsoft. The Technology SPDR (XLK) lost 1.7%. Stocks such as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL), International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) and Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) declined 1.6%, 0.9%, 0.5%, 2.3% and 4.5%, respectively.

Shares of General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) jumped 4.5% after the company announced its quarterly results. The company’s earnings beat the Street’s estimates. Earnings were boosted by cost cuts and increase in sales of jet engines and oil pumps. The company’s backlog of orders at the conclusion of the second quarter has increased 4% worldwide and 20% in the U.S. General Electric Chief Executive Jeff Immelt said orders from Europe for company’s industrial equipment and services in the second quarter increased 2%, following a decline of 17% in the first quarter.

The energy sector was the biggest gainer among the S&P 500 industry groups and the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) gained 1.4%. Stocks such as Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES), Occidental Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:OXY) and Marathon Petroleum Corp (NYSE:MPC) gained 0.8%, 1.2%, 2.5%, 0.9% and 1.9%, respectively.

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