(By Balachander) U.S. stocks closed in green, turning positive late in the day, as hopes of further action from major central banks offset a weaker-than-expected Chinese export and import data.
S&P 500 Index added 0.22 percent to finish at 1,405.87. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.32 percent to end at 13,207.95. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.07 percent to close at 3,020.86.
Following a set of downbeat economic readings from the world's second largest economy and Europe, investors hope for some definite action from the major policy makers regarding additional policy easing measures.
A data from the General Administration of Customs (GAC) showed Chinese exports increased a slower rate, up just 1 percent versus a growth of 11.3 percent in June and well below economists expectations of a gain of 8 percent. Imports rose 4.7 percent compared with a gain of 6.3 percent in June, falling short of expectations of 7 percent growth.
The National Bureau of Statistics on Thursday reported that China's consumer-price index fell to 1.8 percent in July from 2.2 percent in June, cooling off for the fourth straight month.
On the U.S. economic front, a government data showed that import prices fell 0.6 percent while export prices increased 0.5 percent in July, while economists expected import and export prices to drop 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. In June, import prices and export prices declined 2.4 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: YHOO, JCP, RIMM, CFN, FIO, MNST, BIG, DV, ELX, UBNT
In corporate news, Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) lost 5.37 percent after the struggling Internet company disclosed that it may revalue its plans to restructure operations and return proceeds to shareholders from the sale of its stake in Alibaba.
J.C. Penney Co Inc. (NYSE:JCP) rose 5.88 percent. Chief executive Ron Johnson said the transformation of the department store chain is on track. The company slipped to a quarterly loss as sales plunged and margins contracted sharply as it reconsidered its approach to pricing.
Research In Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ:RIMM) gained 6.61 percent. Bloomberg reported that International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) has considered acquiring RIM's enterprise-services unit, citing people familiar with the situation.
Fusion-IO Inc. (NYSE:FIO) jumped 27.78 percent after the Utah-based developer of storage memory platforms issued an upbeat revenue growth forecast for fiscal 2013.
Monster Beverage Corp. (NASDAQ:MNST) tumbled 11.32 percent after the energy drink maker disclosed that it was being probed of advertising practices by an unspecified attorney general.
CareFusion Corp. (NYSE:CFN) advanced 7.00 percent after the San Diego, California-based medical technology company reported a 29 percent jump in quarterly earnings as sales rose and costs fell. The company issued an upbeat earnings guidance for 2013.
Big Lots Inc. (NYSE:BIG) retreated 6.95 percent. Shares of the Columbus, Ohio-based broadline closeout retailer were downgraded to "Underweight" from "Neutral" by J.P. Morgan.
Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE:JWN) added 1.91 percent after the fashion specialty retailer posted quarterly earnings that exceeded Wall Street expectations.
DeVry Inc. (NYSE:DV) lost 3.22 percent after the Illinois-based educational services company posted a sharp drop in fourth-quarter earnings as revenue fell 7.5 percent.
Emulex Corp. (NYSE:ELX) slumped 8.87 percent after the California-based networking services company offered a downbeat forecast for the first quarter.
Ubiquiti Networks Inc. (NASDAQ:UBNT) plunged 41.97 percent after the San Jose, California-based provider of wireless networking products warned that the amount of counterfeited goods will impact its forecast for the next two fiscal quarters. The company guided first quarter ending September 30 below consensus estimates. Deutsche Bank downgraded rating on the shares to "Hold" from "Buy".
European markets ended lower, with Germany's DAX dropping 0.29 percent to close at 6,944.56. France's CAC40 declined 0.61 percent to finish at 3,435.62. U.K.'s FTSE 100 edged 0.08 percent lower to end at 5,847.11.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index shed 0.24 percent to finish at 2,168.81. Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 0.97 percent to end at 8,891.44. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index declined 0.66 percent to end at 20,136.12. India's BSE Sensex finished at 17,557.74, down 0.02 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures edged 0.10 percent lower to $93.350 per barrel and natural gas futures lost 5.77 percent to $2.775 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures inched up 0.22 percent to $1,623.8 per ounce and silver futures fell 0.01 percent to $28.095 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro shed 0.08 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2296. The British pound added 0.28 percent against the greenback to 1.5682, while the dollar declined 0.34 percent against the Japanese yen to 78.2900.