(By Balachander) U.S. stocks closed on a flat note weighed by worries over rising inflation in China, mixed quarterly report from Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) and a set of slightly downbeat domestic data.
The S&P 500 Index ended flat at 1,472.05. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.13 percent to finish at 13,488.43. The Nasdaq Composite Index inched up 0.12 percent to close at 3,125.63.
Bank shares fell after Wells Fargo posted its quarterly numbers. U.S. earnings gathers steam with other major banks such as Bank of America Corp. (BAC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Citigroup (C) reporting their results next week.
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A report showed China's inflation accelerated more than expected, raising concerns that the Chinese government may limit further stimulus. China's consumer price index rose 2.5 percent in December, reaching a seven-month high, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report showed.
On the domestic data front, a government data showed that import prices unexpectedly fell 0.1 percent in December after a 0.8 percent fall in November, while economists expected a gain of 0.1 percent. Export prices also dropped 0.1 percent after a 0.7 percent decline in November.
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In other data, U.S. trade deficit for November widened to $48.7 billion from $42.1 billion in October, while economists expected trade gap to narrow to $41.3 billion.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: WFC, BA, BBY, JCP, CVX, INFY, KBR, DNDN, BV, ARQL
In corporate news, Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) reduced losses to close 0.85 percent lower after the mortgage lender posted mixed quarterly results. Earnings and revenue increased for the fourth quarter, while net interest margin fell to 3.56 percent from 3.89 percent in the year-ago period.
Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) lost 2.50 percent after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it will review the 787 Dreamliner's recent issues and critical systems.
Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) jumped 16.38 percent after the consumer electronics giant posted flat comparable store sales at its Domestic segment for the holiday period. Global comparable sales declined 1.4 percent, less than the 2 percent drop some Wall Street analysts expected.
J.C. Penney Company Inc. (NYSE: JCP) retreated 4.65 percent after UBS downgraded rating on the stock to "sell" from "neutral".
Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) rose 1.14 percent after the company forecast fourth-quarter earnings to be notably higher than in the prior quarter.
Infosys Ltd. (NYSE: INFY) spiked 18.82 percent after the India-based software services provider lifted its revenue view for the full year following better-than-expected third quarter results.
KBR Inc. (NYSE: KBR) slumped 7.88 percent after the engineering services company reduced its 2012 earnings forecast and issued a downbeat view for the current year.
Dendreon Corp. (NASDAQ: DNDN) soared 20.98 percent after Sanford C. Bernstein upgraded the biotechnology company's stock to "outperform" from "market-perform".
Bazaarvoice Inc. (NASDAQ: BV) tumbled 11.21 percent. The social media marketing company's acquisition of PowerReviews Inc. has been challenged by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
ArQule Inc. (NASDAQ: ARQL) slumped 11.64 percent after the clinical-stage biotechnology company said its experimental colorectal cancer treatment did not meet the survival goal in a mid-stage study.
European markets closed in green, with Germany's DAX up 0.09 percent to close at 7,715.53. France's CAC40 added 0.08 percent to finish at 3,706.02. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.33 percent to end at 6,121.58.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index tumbled 1.78 percent to close at 2,243. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.40 percent to finish at 10,801.57. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index shed 0.39 percent to end at 23,264.07. India's BSE Sensex ended flat at 19,663.64.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Crude oil futures slipped 0.09 percent to $93.74 per barrel, while natural gas futures jumped 4.26 percent to $3.33 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures fell 0.93 percent to $1,662.30 per ounce and silver futures declined 1.48 percent to $30.46 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro gained 0.49 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.3337. The British pound lost 0.29 percent against the greenback to 1.6121, while the dollar advanced 0.48 percent against the Japanese yen to 88.2100.