By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks advanced on Friday and posted their best weekly gains in a month as stronger-than-expected earnings from Amazon.com and Expedia Inc reinforced confidence in corporate performance.
Wall Street managed a fourth day of gains as the strong earnings season outweighed a surprisingly weak reading on first-quarter economic growth.
Online retailer Amazon climbed 15.7 percent to $226.85 and contributed half of Nasdaq's gain for the day. An S&P retail index rose 3.5 percent and hit an all-time high. Shares of Expedia, the Web-based travel provider, surged 23.5 percent to close at $40.31, after hitting a new high at $43 on record volume.
Growth in S&P 500 earnings rose to 7.2 percent this week from 3.2 percent at the start of the month, according to Thomson Reuters data. About 73 percent of the companies that have reported so far have beaten expectations.
"So far the numbers have been pretty good, and we're happy about that, but I think we have to wait to where we're done with the earnings season to really make judgments," said David James, senior vice president of James Investment Research in Alpha, Ohio.
"Going forward, the big key for people especially looking at tech is what happens with the dollar. I think the dollar will probably be stronger than people expect on a relative basis. Historically that usually means tech is the sector that gets hit the hardest."
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 23.69 points, or 0.18 percent, at 13,228.31. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 3.38 points, or 0.24 percent, at 1,403.36. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 18.59 points, or 0.61 percent, at 3,069.20.
The S&P 500 posted its best weekly percentage gain since March and the Nasdaq its best gain since February.
Earlier this week, a blowout quarter from Apple Inc gave the Nasdaq its best day of the year .
With one more trading day left in the month, the S&P 500 is slightly lower so far in April but still up 11.6 percent for the year. The S&P is well above its 50-day moving average.
The earnings news overshadowed the day's economic news. The Commerce Department reported the U.S. economy expanded at a 2.2 percent annual rate in the first quarter, below economists' expectations for growth of 2.5 percent.
Among other companies reporting results, Ford Motor Co surpassed expectations as its North American unit reported the best profit in at least 12 years. But the stock fell 2.3 percent to $11.60 after executives said Ford lost U.S. market share in April, suggesting that second-quarter .
Also on the downside, Procter & Gamble Co shares fell 3.6 percent to $64.44 after the world's biggest consumer products maker cut its full-year profit view and posted lower quarterly earnings.
Starbucks Corp fell 5.3 percent to $57.43 and was one of the biggest percentage decliners on the Nasdaq 100 after the coffee chain operator reported results late on Thursday. Investors focused on weakness in European sales, even though its quarterly profit topped estimates.
Volume was 6.2 billion shares on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the NYSE Amex, below the daily average this year of 6.76 billion.
Advancers outpaced decliners by a ratio of about 2 to 1 on the NYSE as well as on the Nasdaq.
(Editing by Leslie Adler)