msnbc.com news services
updated 4/22/2011 8:02:43 AM ET 2011-04-22T12:02:43

U.S. stock and bond markets are closed Friday in observance of Good Friday and will reopen Monday morning.

Wall Street finished Thursday with solid gains, as strong earnings reports from blue chip companies lifted stock prices across the market.

Upbeat U.S. earnings supported stock markets around the world this week. Following a long period when investors have been focusing on other issues, such as Japan's earthquake and tsunami, Europe's debt crisis and the unrest in the Arab world, earnings have returned to prominence.

So far, the latest corporate results have been generally positive, with a number of companies announcing forecast-busting earnings in another sign that the U.S. economy, the world's largest, is performing strongly.

Particularly encouraging was Wednesday's after-hours statement from Apple Inc. that its hit iPhone helped earnings nearly double. Apple's technology peer Intel Corp. also beat expectations, helping to buoy sentiment toward the technology sector.

General Electric Co., McDonald's Corp. and Morgan Stanley & Co. also beat expectations Thursday.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Data: Highs and lows of the bull market

Photos: Tired of Taxes

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  1. (John Cole / Scranton Times Tribune, Politicalcartoons.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. (Joe Heller / Green Bay Press Gazette, Politicalcartoons.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. (Gary McCoy / Politicalcartoons.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. (Randy Bish / Politicalcartoons.com) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. John Cole / Scranton Times Tribune, Politicalcartoons.com
    Above: Slideshow (13) Tired of Taxes
  2. Randy Bish / Politicalcartoons.com
    Slideshow (8) Pain at the pump
  3. Cam Cardow / Ottawa Citizen, Politicalcartoons.com
    Slideshow (9) Trapped in the economy

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Data: Latest rates in the US

Home equity rates View rates in your area
Home equity type Today +/- Chart
$30K HELOC FICO 4.95%
$30K home equity loan FICO 5.19%
$75K home equity loan FICO 4.58%
Credit card rates View more rates
Card type Today +/- Last Week
Low Interest Cards 13.40%
13.40%
Cash Back Cards 17.92%
17.91%
Rewards Cards 17.12%
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Source: Bankrate.com