US stocks : Dow up 0.5 pct

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SummaryThe Dow Jones industrial average rose 70.65 points to 13,895.98.

The S&P 500 index on Friday closed above 1,500 for the first time in more than five years as strong U.S. earnings reports, including Procter & Gamble's, helped the benchmark extend its rally to eight days.

The winning streak is the longest in eight years and left the S&P 500 about 4.1 percent away from its all-time closing high of 1,565.15 on Oct. 9, 2007.

The equity market's strong start this year has been attributed to solid corporate results, an agreement in Washington to extend the government's borrowing power, encouraging signs from the global economy and seasonal inflows into stocks.

Procter & Gamble shares led the Dow and S&P higher with a 4 percent gain to $73.25 after the world's top household products maker's quarterly profit soared past expectations. The company also raised its sales and earnings outlook for the fiscal year.

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes fell in December but rose in 2012 to the highest level since 2009, a sign the U.S. housing market turned a corner last year.

"Economic data in the U.S. has been trending higher, albeit modestly. Things are incrementally better," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.

"The market was able to move forward despite deterioration in Apple and that's also a positive."

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 70.65 points or 0.51 percent, to 13,895.98, the S&P 500 gained 8.14 points or 0.54 percent, to 1,502.96 and the Nasdaq Composite added 19.33 points or 0.62 percent, to 3,149.71.

The S&P 500 closed at its highest since Dec. 10, 2007 and the Dow ended at its highest since Oct. 31, 2007.

Apple shares dropped 2.4 percent to $439.88, and the iPhone maker lost its coveted title as the largest U.S. company by market capitalization to Exxon Mobil Corp.

Apple's market cap fell to $413 billion, down roughly $250 billion from its September peak. Apple's fall is about equal to the entire value of Google Inc.

Adding to the bullish tone, German business morale improved for a third consecutive month in January to its highest in more than six months. In addition, European banks said they will repay

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