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Google leads tech stocks higher on Wall Street, Dow sinks

Strong earnings from Google powered the S&P 500 index higher while disappointing revenue at GE pushed the blue chip measure down.

Google led the technology sector higher after its shares jumped $US60.52, or 11%, to $US601.45, its highest close since January.

The company posted a 32% rise in its third-quarter profit and boosted its market capitalisation by $US19.1 billion as investors saw significant revenue streams beyond its dominance in online-search advertising.

Google saw strong growth in its display advertising revenue, and predicted its ads for cellphones would yield $US1 million a year shortly.

Apple rose 4.1%, Adobe Systems 2.2% and Hewlett-Packard 1.6%. The S&P index advanced 2.38 points, or 0.2%, to 1176.19 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 1.37% to 2468.77.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 31.79 points, or 0.3%, to 11062.78, with GE losing 5%.

Other markets: Europe up, Asia down
European shares ended mostly higher Friday but gains were marinal. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.1% to close at 265.83.

The UK FTSE 100 index fell 0.4% to close at 5703.37, the French CAC 40 index rose 0.2% to 3827.37 and the German DAX 30 index ended 0.6% higher at 6492.30.

Most major Asian markets ended lower. Chinese shares were a notable exception, as they stretched their winning run to a seventh-straight day amid expectations of strong earnings and hopes of further yuan appreciation.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.9% to 9500.25, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.2% 4688.95, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index shed 0.4% to 23,757.63, Taiwan's Taiex slipped 0.1% to 8205.30 and India's Sensex dropped 1.8% to 20,125.05.

Among regional gainers, Korea's Kospi rose 0.1% to 1902.29 and Singapore's Straits Times Index advanced 0.3% 2139.11.

China's Shanghai Composite soared 3.2% to 2971.16. Although up nearly 12% this month, it is still among the worst performers in the region, with a loss of more than 9% in 2010 to date.

Commodities: Oil, gold down
Crude futures tumbled, nearing $US81 a barrel on a rebound in the dollar and dropping equities.

Light, sweet crude for November delivery settled $US1.44, or 1.7%, lower at $US81.25 a barrel in New York after dropping as low as $US80.75 a barrel. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange traded $US1.65 lower at $US82.55 a barrel.

Gold futures retreated as stronger-than-expected retail sales and comments from the Federal Reserve raised questions about the amount of U.S. fiscal stimulus the market expects from the central bank.

The most actively traded gold contract, for December delivery, fell $US5.60, or 0.4%, to settle at $US1372 an ounce in New York.

Currencies: Dollar recovers
The US dollar rebounded from broad early losses that saw a wide swath of currencies hit records in volatile trading.

The euro touched $US1.4157, the strongest since January 2010. The Australian dollar hit parity with the greenback for the first time since the 1983 float. The UK pound ticked above $US1.61 for the first time since January.

By the end of New York trading, the euro had fallen back below $US1.40 to $US1.3976, compared with $US1.4072 late on Thursday, The dollar was at ¥81.41 from ¥81.47.

The euro moved to ¥113.77 from ¥114.64. The UK pound was at $US1.5985 from $US1.6003. The dollar was at 0.9587 Swiss franc from 0.9529 franc.
 

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