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Overnight Markets: US stocks rally on Facebook and GDP

Overnight Markets: US stocks rally on Facebook and GDP

US stocks bounced back on Thursday, with the S&P 500 scoring its biggest gain in more than a month, as earnings beat estimates at companies from Facebook to PulteGroup and data showed the US economy was on solid footing in the fourth quarter.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 110 points or 0.70%, to end at 15,849. The S&P 500 gained 20 points or 1.13%, to finish at 1,794, its biggest daily percentage gain since 18 December. The Nasdaq Composite added 72 points or 1.77%, to close at 4,123, its best daily percentage rise since 10 October.

Facebook Inc (FB.O) shares surged 14.1% after the social media company delivered its strongest revenue growth in two years on Wednesday, beating analysts' estimates.

Google Inc (GOOG.O) shares jumped 2.6%, a day after Lenovo Group said it would acquire the Internet search giant's Motorola handset division for $2.91 billion.

Google's shares extended gains by 4.6% after the bell when the company reported quarterly revenue that beat analysts' expectations.

In economic news, data showed US gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 3.2% in the fourth quarter, the Commerce Department said yesterday, in line with expectations. Strong household spending and robust exports supported the growth.

Blackstone jumped 4.2% after the biggest manager of alternative assets posted a record fourth-quarter profit. Under Armour climbed 23% after earnings per share beat estimates by 11%.

Shares of Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) declined after the bell, tumbling 7.5% after the world's largest Internet retailer reported sales for the holiday quarter with less growth than expected for outside North America.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc (CMG.N)’s shares jumped 9.5% in after-hours trading after the release of the burrito chain's results. Shares of video game maker Zynga Inc (ZNGA.O) surged 19.9% after the company said it would slash its workforce by 15%.

In Asia, shares struggled to push higher on Friday in late morning trade but did get some momentum from data showing strong US growth after several days of turmoil.

Japan's Nikkei 225 was up 0.2% after the government reported increases in inflation and factory output. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.1% and New Zealand's benchmark gained 0.8%.

Stock markets were closed in China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines for Lunar Day holidays.

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