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October not so scary; Dow, S&P close at record highs

U.S. stocks surged on Friday, lifting the Dow industrials and S&P 500 to record closes, after the Bank of Japan unexpectedly expanded stimulus, increasing hopes for the global economy.

"A lot of the fears that led to the selloff in the middle of October turned out to be unfounded, and U.S. interest rates are even lower than when we started, which makes the case for equities even stronger," said David Kelly, chief market strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds, referencing a 7.4 percent decline in the S&P 500 over a four-week period ending Oct. 15.

"Relative to where we were two weeks ago, we know earnings are going to be good, with 75 percent beating, which is the strongest since 2010, so it's a very good earnings season, and we didn't know that two weeks ago. Another part of it is good numbers for the U.S. economy, and then of course you have Japan, so the market had a lot of momentum going into today," Kelly said.

"So it's clear the selloff in the middle of October was unjustified," Kelly added.

The U.S. dollar climbed against the currencies of major trading partners, including the Japanese yen, while dollar-denominated commodities including gold and oil dropped sharply after the Bank of Japan increased its yearly target for monetary expansion to 80 trillion yen, or $724 billion, from as much as 70 trillion yen. The move comes in the same week the Federal Reserve said it would end six years of U.S. bond purchases.

"Although quantitative easing might be in the rear window for us here in the United States, it's present for Japan, and when you get something unexpected like this, you buy equities and sell commodities," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

"You could argue that Japan has more structural issues than monetary, but as you look around the globe, the market will most likely applaud when countries that have slowing economies do things to stimulate," said Hogan, who added the "ECB is probably the next up," referring to the European Central Bank.

LinkedIn gained after the online professional network reported third-quarter sales that beat expectations; GoPro rose after its fourth-quarter profit outlook topped estimates; Citigroup gained after reporting a $600 million legal hit; Starbucks dropped after the coffee retailer tallied quarterly revenue that disappointed, and Exxon Mobil rose after reporting a 3 percent increase in quarterly profit.

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Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
DJIA
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S&P 500
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NASDAQ
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 200 points to an intraday record of 17,395.54, and ended up 195.10 points, or 1.1 percent, to 17,390.52, rising 2 percent for the month.

After coming within a point of its intraday record set Sept. 19, the S&P 500 added 23.40 points, or 1.2 percent, to 2,018.05, with energy leading gains among its 10 major sectors, all of which advanced. The index gained 2.3 percent for October.

Trading at a multi-year high, the Nasdaq rose 64.60 points, or 1.4 percent, to 4,630.74, up 3.1 percent from the month-ago finish.

The CBOE Volatility Index, one measure of investor uncertainty, dropped 3.4 percent to 14.03.

For every share falling, roughly three rose on the New York Stock Exchange, where more than a billion shares traded. Composite volume neared 4.3 billion.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for December delivery dropped $27.00, or 2.4 percent, to $1,172.70 an ounce. Crude-oil futures for December fell 38 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $85.86.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note used to figure mortgage rates and other consumer loans rose 2 basis points to 2.3293 percent.

Equities offered muted reaction to Friday data that had U.S. consumer spending unexpectedly falling in September, a gauge of manufacturing activity in the Chicago region hitting 66.2 in October, better than the estimated 60.0, and U.S. consumer sentiment rising to 86.9 in October versus an expected 86.4.

On Thursday, U.S. stocks jumped, with Visa helping lift the Dow industrials into the green for October, after data showed the U.S. economy grew more than expected last quarter.

Read MoreStocks up on better-than-expected GDP; Visa rallies

"The United States is doing so well, the rest of the world just has to come to a draw for it to be a good investing environment," said Kelly of the U.S. stock market.

Trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
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Trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.