Earnings once again took center stage on Wall Street Friday, as favorable results from a host of companies, including Microsoft and General Electric, boosted investor sentiment going into the weekend. European markets also stabilized going into a key election in France. Just before 2:45 p.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) were off their highs but still up 87 points to 13,051. The S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) jumped almost 6 points to 1,383.
But not all stocks shared in the rally today. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) was down more than 4% in early afternoon trade as CLSA analyst Mike Mayo gave the bank a sell rating. Although the stock has had a huge run so far in 2012, Mayo argues that even if it successfully emerges from its plans to recapitalize and rebuild, B of A will likely never return to the status it once held.
Among the Dow's energy stocks, both ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM ) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX ) were somewhat higher as oil prices climbed to around $103 per barrel. Natural gas, however, continues to languish at about $1.92, pulling diversified energy producers like Exxon and Chevron in two different directions. Longer-term, both stocks' prospects rely on the global economic picture. A slowdown could cause energy prices to plunge, but a recovery might well increase demand and sustain prices near current levels.
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