Stocks end January with strongest monthly performance in decades

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Where are the stock opportunities for investors in this market environment?

Federated Investors' Phil Orlando on the outlook for the markets and the U.S. economy.

Stocks closed higher Thursday as quarterly results from Facebook and General Electric helped the market close out one of the strongest Januarys in decades.

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Both the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 booked their best January in 30 years.

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General Electric reported a profit for the fourth quarter, bouncing back from a loss in the year-ago period. Revenue rose 5 percent to $33.28 billion, topping the Wall Street estimate of $32.6 billion.

Facebook posted a record quarterly profit despite a slew of negative headlines during the period.

TickerSecurityLastChange%Chg
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES26559.54+110.00+0.42%
SP500S&P 5002905.03+4.58+0.16%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX7998.060649+1.98+0.02%

CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the social media giant has turned a corner and plans to focus this year on building new products.

Electric-car maker Tesla confirmed it will be able to make a key debt payment by next month's deadline, taking some pressure off CEO Elon Musk. The disclosure comes amid mixed quarterly results.

DowDuPont fell after the chemical maker's revenue fell short of expectations.

Microsoft declined as its Azure cloud computing sales grew at a slower pace than a year earlier, although its quarterly results and forecast topped Wall Street estimates.

TickerSecurityLastChange%Chg
FBFACEBOOK INC.178.28-0.50-0.28%
GEGENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY9.35+0.23+2.52%
TSLATESLA INC.273.26+2.03+0.75%
DWDPDOWDUPONT INC39.00-0.20-0.51%
MSFTMICROSOFT CORP.123.37+1.60+1.31%

In economic news, the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits surged to near a 1-1/2-year high last week, which could raise concerns that the labor market is slowing.

In Asian markets on Thursday, China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.4 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index finished the day up 1 percent. Japan’s Nikkei closed up 1.1 percent.

In Europe, the major markets ended the day mixed. London’s FTSE added 0.4 percent, Germany’s DAX slipped 0.2 percent and France’s CAC gained 0.3 percent.

FOX Business' Ken Martin contributed to this report.