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Tech stocks push Dow, S&P to new 5-year highs

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Another round of corporate earnings lifted stocks, helping the S&P 500 and the Dow hit new 5-year highs.

Better-than-expected earnings from IBM and Google provided some of the fuel to drive stocks higher Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 closed up between 0.1% and 0.5%.

Stocks have been edging higher for most of January with the Dow closing higher on nine of the last 10 trading days.

US Airways added to the enthusiasm when it reported earnings Wednesday morning that beat forecasts. Shares of McDonald’s ticked up slightly even though the company warned that same-store sales could fall in January. Earnings did top estimates, however.

Shares of Netflix soared more than 30% in after hours trading, after the online video rental company surprised investors by reporting a fourth quarter profit.

Shares of Apple fell nearly 5% in after hours trading to below $500. The company missed revenue estimates but beat profit expectations. Apple’s stock has been under pressure recently amid concerns about waning iPhone sales.

Overall, S&P 500 companies are expected to report earnings growth of 3.8% for the last three months of 2012, according to S&P’s Capital IQ.

Still, not all earnings reports have been positive. Luxury retailer Coach disappointed investors. Revenue missed forecasts, and the company said holiday sales were “challenging.” Shares fell nearly 15%.

Investors are also keeping an eye on the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where business and political leaders have gathered to discuss economic issues. JPMorgan Chase Chief Jamie Dimon, who spoke Wednesday, apologized again to shareholders for trading losses the bank suffered on credit derivatives last year, although he said “life goes on.”

European markets closed mixed, while Asian markets ended mostly flat, with the exception of the Nikkei, which slumped 2%.

The dollar was also lower versus the yen and the British pound, but flat against the euro.

Oil prices edged higher, while gold prices dropped.

The price of the 10-year Treasury held steady with the yield hovering around 1.84%.

By Maureen Farrell

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