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Tech leads as stocks regain positive footing for 2015

U.S. stocks rose, erasing losses for the year, after China cut borrowing costs and as technology titans including Google parent Alphabet, Microsoft and reported better-than-expected quarterly profits.

"The big thing this morning was the rate cut in China, and we see that still carrying forward," said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab. "The rally since the beginning of October has been really astounding -- we're likely to end positive for the year today."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) added 158 points, or 0.9 percent, to 17,647, with Microsoft leading gains that included 22 of 30 blue-chip components. The technology company rallied more than 10 percent after reporting first-quarter profit above expectations.

The S&P 500 (SPX) added 23 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,075, with technology faring best among its 10 industry groups amid positive quarterly reports from some of its bigger names. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (COMP) surged 112 points, or 2.3 percent, to 5,032.

Brightening investor sentiment, China's central bank lowered its benchmark lending rate in an ongoing effort to soften the impact of the nation's slowing economy. The move by the world's second-biggest economy to ease its monetary policy comes ahead of a two-day meeting by the Federal Reserve next week to discuss U.S. interest rates.

A third-quarter report released late Thursday had Google (GOOG) making significant progress in mobile, its earnings surging 45 percent to nearly $4 billion, or $5.73 per share. Its shares climbed $53.90, or 7.9 percent, to $735.07. E-commerce powerhouse Amazon (AMZN) reported a surprise third-quarter profit, with its shares climbing $40.38, 7.2 percent, to $603.98.

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