The Nasdaq jumped nearly 1% as investors liked what they saw from AOL and LinkedIn.
Markets have had a good run so far this year. The Dow and S&P 500 are both up nearly 7% and near their all-time highs, while the Nasdaq has gained nearly 6%.
AOL(AOL) shares surged 7%, after the web portal reported revenue growth for the first time in eight years. Fourth quarter profits were in line with expectations.
AOL ... You've got sales!
Shares of LinkedIn(LNKD) hit an all-time high, one day after the company reported a spike in membership. The online network targeted to professionals handily beat earnings and revenue estimates for the fourth quarter.
Shares of credit ratings agency Moody's(MCO) fell 8% on worries that the government might sue the firm over its ratings of mortgage securities. Shares of Moody's and of McGraw Hill, the parent company of its rival Standard & Poor's, have dropped precipitously this week. On Friday, McGraw-Hill's(MHP) stock dropped another 3%.
Coinstar's(CSTR) stock tumbled 7%, after the company issued a weak outlook for the first quarter.
In economic news, the trade deficit shrank in December to $38.5 billion, down from $48.6 billion the previous month, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Wholesale inventories for December dropped 0.1% compared to expectations that those inventories would rise 0.3%. Still that negative economic report did little to dampen investors' appetite for buying stocks.
European markets closed up between 0.5% and 1.4%, after European Union leaders agreed on a budget deal. An EU Council spokeswoman told CNN the deal was reached after marathon meetings in Brussels, Belgium.
Healthy growth in Chinese imports and exports last month also helped give global markets as lift, even as price pressures subsided.