* GE climbs after quarterly results
* Housing starts rise in September
* Umich tops expectations
* Indexes up: Dow 1.91 pct, S&P 1.69 pct, Nasdaq 1.59 pct (Updates to early afternoon trading)
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 offset concerns about the impact of weak global demand on U.S. growth and businesses.
Even with the strong advance on Friday, the benchmark S&P index was on track for its fourth straight weekly decline, its longest streak in more than three years, and is down nearly 6 percent from its record high amid worries over 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 3.4 percent to $25.07 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 as the best performing S&P sector.
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.
“Today’s price action in the market really validates the approach that is predicated on data and earnings,” said Peter Kenny, chief market strategist at Clearpool Group in New York.
“We have managed to avoid a technical correction of ten percent, though we got very close and now the market is going to look to build a positive narrative for asset allocation into equities that is predicated upon relatively cheap valuations.”
Energy shares also rose, boosted by a 4 percent rise in Schlumberger to $94.27 after the world’s largest oilfield services company posted a third-quarter profit that beat estimates.
At 12:36 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average rose 307.86 points, or 1.91 percent, to 16,425.1, the S&P 500 gained 31.43 points, or 1.69 percent, to 1,894.19 and the Nasdaq Composite added 66.94 points, or 1.59 percent, to 4,284.33.
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 12.2 percent, while the largest percentage decliner was Urban Outfitters, down 13.2 percent.
The largest percentage gainer on the Nasdaq 100 was Regeneron Pharma, which was rising 9.9 percent, while the largest percentage decliner was SanDisk, down 2.8 percent.
Advancing issues were outnumbering declining ones on the NYSE by 2,224 to 793, for a 2.80-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,581 issues were rising and 1,055 falling for a 1.50-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 2 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 27 new highs and 23 new lows. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)