Most stocks rose Friday, extending a two-week jump that has added 11% to the market's major indicators, lifting the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 to fresh 8-month closing highs.
Microsoft msft shares dropped more than 8% after company reported revenue that fell short of analysts' forecasts. Amazon.com amzn also reported weaker-than-expected sales, and its shares fell 8%.
The reports underscore the prevailing theme of earnings season thus far: Companies have been able to report better-than-expected earnings in large part because of aggressive cost-cutting measures, not stronger sales. Revenue at some companies is still sagging as consumers forgo spending to shore up their savings.
Still, investors have taken the improved results as confirmation that the economy is healing and that a turnaround is possible by the end of the year.
"We are of the opinion that it may not be a straight line, but things are going to continue to get better," said Keith Walter, portfolio manager at Artio Global Equity Fund.
Investors are betting on an improvement. On Thursday, news that existing home sales rose in June for the third straight month helped pushed the Dow over 9,000 for the first time since January.
In just nine days, the Dow and the S&P 500 index have climbed 11%, reigniting a rally that carried the market 40% higher this spring. Stocks gave up some of those gains last month as still-growing unemployment and weak consumer confidence fed doubts about the economy's recovery.
Despite the gains, analysts warn that investors still have a number of obstacles to contend with, including earnings reports from retailers that will provide more insight into the financial health of the consumer.
"It's healthy that there is fear and skepticism in the marketplace," said Jeffrey Frankel, president of Stuart Frankel & Co. "The more people are concerned and the more people are careful, the healthier the market will be. What gets us in trouble is when there is no fear."
The Dow rose 23.95, or 0.3%, to 9,093.24, while the S&P 500 index rose 2.97, or 0.3%, to 979.26. The Nasdaq fell 7.64, or 0.4%, to 1,965.96, breaking a 12-day winning streak.
The market's climb in the past two weeks reflects a mix of forces. Some analysts link part of the buying to short-covering, where investors have to buy stock after having earlier sold borrowed shares in a bet that the market would fall. That rush to cover ill-timed bets can hasten the market's climb.
It's not just traders making all the moves. Everyday investors also are withdrawing money from some safe corners of the market where the returns are low. In the week ended Tuesday, money market mutual fund investors pulled $3.99 billion from taxable funds, according to according to iMoneyNet Inc. This has been flowing into stock and bond funds.
Analysts also say money managers are afraid of missing out on a continued rally.
"There is so much cash still on the sidelines," said David Darst, chief investment strategist at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.
"People missed it and they're beginning to worry that the train isn't going to come back for them," he said, referring to the rally.
Bond prices rose, pushing yields slightly lower. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.66% from 3.67% late Thursday.
Analysts say a break in the market's advance is warranted and disappointing earnings reports gave investors reason to lock in some of the recent gains.
Microsoft fell $2.11 to $23.45, while Amazon.com dropped $7.38 to $86.49.
About two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to a light 1 billion shares, compared with 1.4 billion traded Thursday. Light volume can skew the market's moves.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 2.61, or 0.5%, to 548.46.