U.S. Stocks Start With Strong Gains On Positive Tech Earnings

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks started on a higher note Friday, with the technology sector bolstered by solid results from Research In Motion Ltd. and financials backed by word that Merrill Lynch might draw up to $5 billion from an overseas investor.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 121 points to 13,366.7, with all but one of the blue-chip benchmark's 30 components trading higher.

The S&P 500 rose 15.93 points to 1,476.05, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 36.10 points to 2,676.96, a strong performance carrying over from Thursday's action.

Embattled financial stocks drew support from a Wall Street Journal report that investment bank Merrill Lynch & Co. might be the recipient of a capital infusion from Temasek Holdings of Singapore.

The government offered mixed news before the bell, with the Commerce Department reporting that U.S. personal spending rose 1.1% in November, while the core inflation rate increased 0.2% for the month. .

Rallying on results, Blackberry maker Research In Motion late Thursday reported third-quarter earnings that more than doubled amid strong demand for its products.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude-oil futures gained 57 cents to $91.63 a barrel, and gold futures climbed $12.60 to $815.80 an ounce.

By Kate Gibson