* GE climbs after quarterly results
* Housing starts rise in September
* Umich tops expectations
* Indexes up: Dow 1.6 pct, S&P 1.64 pct, Nasdaq 1.62 pct (Updates to late morning)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Oct 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Friday, with each of the major indexes up more than 1 percent, following a batch of solid earnings reports that eased concerns about the impact of weak global demand on U.S. growth and businesses.
The benchmark S&P index is on track for its fourth straight weekly decline, its longest streak in more than three years, and is down about 6 percent from its record high amid concerns about the health of the global economy and spread of the Ebola virus.
Investors eyeing corporate earnings for positive trading incentives were rewarded. General Electric shares rose 3.8 percent to $25.17 after the company reported third-quarter earnings that topped analyst expectations, pushing the S&P industrial sector up 1.8 percent.
Fellow industrial Honeywell shares gained 4.1 percent to $89.27 after its quarterly results, to help send the S&P industrials sector up 2.3 percent.
Data also helped temper concerns about the economy. U.S. housing starts and permits rose in September and the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary October reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment exceeded expectations.
The S&P 500 was able to notch a slight gain on Thursday, as it rebounded from sharp losses following remarks by St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard that the U.S. central bank may want to keep up its bond buying stimulus for now.
“The good data and the good earnings are being given a great big boost by this hopefulness that the Fed is going to continue some form of QE,” said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst, Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.
“This euphoria is brought to you from the Fed; however it’s one non-voting member, you have to take that with a grain of salt.”
Energy shares, were up 2.7 percent as the best performing of the 10 major S&P sectors, boosted by a 6 percent rise in Schlumberger to $97.12 after the world’s largest oilfield services company posted a third-quarter profit that beat estimates.
At 11:11 a.m., the Dow Jones industrial average rose 257.23 points, or 1.6 percent, to 16,374.47, the S&P 500 gained 30.61 points, or 1.64 percent, to 1,893.37 and the Nasdaq Composite added 68.25 points, or 1.62 percent, to 4,285.64.
The earnings of S&P 500 companies are expected to grow 6.9 percent in the third quarter, according to Thomson Reuters data through Friday, on revenue growth of 3.8 percent.
The largest percentage gainer on the S&P 500 was Textron , which rose 11.4 percent, while the largest percentage decliner was Urban Outfitters, down 13.6 percent.
The largest percentage gainer on the Nasdaq 100 was Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, up 9.5 percent, while the largest percentage decliner was Netflix, down 4.9 percent.
Advancing issues were outnumbering declining ones on the NYSE by 2,416 to 562, for a 4.30-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,734 issues were rising and 823 falling for a 2.11-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 2 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 26 new highs and 17 new lows. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)