By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Friday after surprisingly strong manufacturing data overshadowed expectations that the Federal Reserve might reduce stimulus earlier than expected.
The Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 rose for the week as well, their fourth straight week of gains.
Factory activity expanded around the world, several business surveys showed, with Chinese manufacturers reporting the fastest upturn in 18 months. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said on Friday its index of U.S. factory activity rose to 56.4 in October, its best reading since April 2011.
While the news underscored views that the Federal Reserve may be considering scaling back its stimulus sooner than some market participants have been expecting, it also gave investors surprising evidence of the manufacturing sector's strength.
The reports "confirmed that maybe the economy isn't quite as weak or rolling over" as some expected, said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia, which manages about $58 billion in assets.
The Fed on Wednesday decided to continue its stimulus program, citing economic weakness.
Boeing Co (BA) shares gained 1.9 percent to $133.03, a day after it said it would increase production of its 737 aircraft to 47 planes per month by 2017 from 38 now - a move that analysts said bodes well for the company.
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 69.80 points, or 0.45 percent, to end at 15,615.55. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (^GSPC) gained 5.10 points, or 0.29 percent, to finish at 1,761.64. The Nasdaq Composite Index (^IXIC) added 2.34 points, or 0.06 percent, to close at 3,922.04.
For the week, the Dow rose 0.3 percent and the S&P 500 gained 0.1 percent, while the Nasdaq slipped 0.5 percent.
On the Nasdaq, shares of First Solar Inc (FSLR) jumped 17.6 percent to $59.14 after the U.S. solar panel manufacturer's results beat forecasts and the company raised its full-year profit outlook.
Among decliners, shares of Chevron Corp (CVX) slid 1.6 percent to $118.01 after third-quarter revenue fell short of expectations.
American International Group Inc (AIG) dropped 6.5 percent to $48.28, a day after the insurer reported earnings that slightly beat expectations. However, analysts expected better results in the insurer's consumer lines business and said it benefited from a favorable tax rate this most recent quarter.
The latest results show the mixed picture in earnings. With about 74 percent of S&P 500 companies having reported results so far, 68.5 percent have topped Wall Street's expectations, above the long-term average of 63 percent, while just 53.3 percent have topped revenue forecasts, below the 61 percent average since 2002, Thomson Reuters data showed.
Although the three major U.S. stock indexes ended Friday's session with modest gains, the market's breadth was negative.
Decliners outnumbered advancers by a ratio of 8 to 7 on the New York Stock Exchange, while on the Nasdaq, three stocks fell for every two that rose.
(Additional reporting by Luke Swiderski Editing by Nick Zieminski and Jan Paschal)