Friday Mid-Day Movers: 3 Stories Driving Markets

There was no hangover for the markets on Friday. The S&P 500 once again flirted with 1,500 before retreating just a point shy. Generally strong earnings this season, backed by positive economic indicators, have helped drive markets toward five-year highs.

At 12:25 p.m.: DJIA: +0.43%, S&P 500: +0.25%, NASDAQ: +0.53%.

Oil and gold were both off slightly, at $95.68 per barrel and $1,660.40 per ounce, respectively.

Here are three stories moving markets on Friday:Man Measuring Money

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1) Toward the end of last year, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced not one, but two quantitative easing programs. These two new rounds of money printing have now officially pushed the central bank’s balance sheet to a new trillion-dollar level.

According to the latest statistical release, the Federal Reserve’s total assets increased $47.9 billion in the past week to hit $3.01 trillion, a fresh all-time record. Holdings of U.S. Treasury securities rose $7.8 billion to $1.697 trillion, while mortgage-backed securities in the portfolio jumped $35.6 billion to $983.17 billion. By comparison, the central bank reported total assets of $926.6 billion in the beginning of 2008, before four rounds of quantitative easing… (Read more.)