Stocks close higher, Dow and S&P log 3-week win streak; Microsoft soars 6%
Stocks finished in positive territory Friday, with the Dow and S&P closing higher for the third-straight week, lifted by a group of encouraging earnings reports.
(Read more: Watch Art Cashin: Here's why stocks aren't down)
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 61.07 points to close at 15,570.28, boosted by Microsoft. The Dow is approximately 1 percent from hitting its all-time record.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, closed near 13.
For the week, the Dow jumped 1.11 percent, the S&P 500 climbed 0.88 percent, and the Nasdaq rose 0.74 percent. Boeing was the best weekly performer on the Dow, while Caterpillar slumped.
All key S&P sectors closed in positive territory, boosted by telecoms and utilities.
Equities briefly pared their gains after Senator Rand Paul threatened to put Janet Yellen's Fed chair nomination on hold this week, according to sources close to Paul.
Paul is insisting on a vote on his Fed transparency bill, and has informed Senate leadership of his intentions, according to the source.
Meanwhile, a Senate Democratic aide told CNBC that the ability of Paul to single-handedly block the nomination "should not be overstated" as Paul would need 40 other senators to join him to cut off a motion to end debate and bring the nomination to the floor. Although hearings have not yet been scheduled, the aide said the leadership at this point is confident the nomination will succeed.
President Barack Obama announced Oct. 9 he would nominate Yellen, current vice chairwoman atn the Fed, to succeed Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, whose term ends Jan. 31.
"This market has been so temperamental for a long time and it's remarkable that any little headline—especially out of Washington—will cause a kneejerk reaction," said Keith Bliss, senior vice president at Cuttone & Co. "This market is not trading on fundamentals but on soundbites and headlines."
On the economic front, consumer sentiment slid to to 73.2 in October, falling to the lowest level since December 2012, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey. Analysts polled by Reuters expected a reading of 75.0.
Durable goods orders rose 3.7 percent during September, though excluding transportation, slipped 0.1 percent, according to the Commerce Department.
And wholesale inventories rose 0.5 percent in August, according to the Commerce Department, logging the biggest increase since January.
Economic bellwether UPS rose after the package delivery company topped earnings forecasts, thanks to strong demand in domestic ground shipments.
Amazon spiked higher after the online retail powerhouse reported revenue that blew past expectations on Thursday afternoon. Dow component Microsoft also rallied after the software giant posted quarterly earnings and revenue that exceeded Wall Street expectations.
(Read more: Amazon to become a $400 stock: Analyst)
So far, 243 S&P 500 companies have posted quarterly results so far this quarter, with 68 percent of firms topping earnings expectations and 54 percent beating revenue estimates. If all remaining companies report earnings in line with estimates, earnings will be up 3.4 percent from last year's third quarter.
Nasdaq OMX said it plans to pay out $41.6 million in compensation to firms that lost money due to glitches in the May 2012 Facebook IPO. The figure is lower than the originally-expected estimate of $62 million, mostly because UBS decided not to file a claim.
On Thursday evening, Twitter announced plans to sell its shares for anywhere from $17 to $20 per share in an initial public offering. The social-media company is offering 70 million shares, suggesting the deal could raise up to $1.4 billion for the social media company. And while the company did not specify a date for the offering, a source close to the matter said the shares were expected to price on Nov. 6, which would mean the stock would likely start trading on Nov. 7.
In Asia, an earthquake of magnitude 7.3 struck around Japan's east coast, near the Fukushima nuclear site and Japan's emergency agencies declared a tsunami warning for the area. WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund and iShares MSCI Japan ETF quickly fell near session lows following the earthquake.
Meanwhile, the Chinese central bank tightened liquidity by withdrawing cash from the system for the third time in two weeks on Thursday. This increased concerns of a repeat of June's credit crunch, following last week's spike in repo rates, a key gauge of liquidity.
(Read more: China dumping Treasurys still a real threat: Roach)
—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)
Coming Up Next Week:
MONDAY: Industrial production, pending home sales, Dallas Fed mfg survey, 2-yr note auction; Earnings from Merck, Apple, Herbalife
TUESDAY: Producer price index, retail sales, S&P Case-Shiller home price index, business inventories, consumer confidence, 5-yr note auction; FOMC mtg begins; Earnings from BP, Deutsche Bank, Gilead, Pfizer, UBS, Nokia, Baidu, Aflac, Electronic Arts, LinkedIn, Yelp
WEDNESDAY: Mortgage applications, ADP employment report, consumer price index, oil inventories, 7-yr note auction, FOMC mtg announcement, Target analyst day; Earnings from Barclays, Comcast, General Motors, Facebook, Visa, Allstate, Expedia, Kraft Foods
THURSDAY: Challenger job-cut report, jobless claims, Chicago PMI, natural gas inventories, farm prices, Fed balance sheet/money supply, Container Store IPO, Oracle shareholders mtg; Earnings from ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, MasterCard, Sony, Starbucks, AIG
FRIDAY: Fed's Bullard speaks, PMI manufacturing index, ISM manufacturing index, Fed's Kocherlakota speaks, auto sales; Earnings from Chevron
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