(By Balachander) U.S. stocks ended on a modestly higher note as investors weighed upbeat quarterly results from General Electric and Morgan Stanley against soft guidance from Intel.
The S&P 500 Index rose 0.34 percent to end at 1,485.97. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.39 percent to finish at 13,649.70. The Nasdaq Composite Index edged 0.04 percent lower to close at 3,134.71.
On the domestic data front, a Reuters and the University of Michigan's survey of U.S. consumer sentiment showed a preliminary reading of 71.3 for January down from 72.9 in December, while economists expected a reading of 75.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: GE, INTC, MS, STT, JCI, RIMM, COF, LIFE, NFLX
In corporate news, General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) rose 3.47 percent after the industrial conglomerate posted an increase in quarterly earnings and revenue, topping market expectations, helped by growth at its industrial and GE Capital segments.
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Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) tumbled 6.31 percent after the world's largest chip maker posted a fall in quarterly earnings and revenue as macro-economic concerns continue to mute growth and recovery in the semiconductor sector. Santa Clara, California-based Intel also issued a downbeat forecast.
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Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) jumped 7.86 percent after the investment banking giant reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results on strong revenue from underwriting and fixed income businesses.
State Street Corp. (NYSE: STT) added 5.93 percent after the investment manager reported higher fourth-quarter earnings, beating Wall Street projections, on revenue growth.
Johnson Controls Inc. (NYSE: JCI) fell 2.97 percent after the provider of automotive interiors reported a 16.5 percent drop in quarterly earnings amid flat sales and the company guided below consensus, saying demand in Europe continued to soften.
Research In Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) advanced 6.24 percent after shares of the Blackberry maker were upgraded to "buy" from "hold" by Jefferies.
Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE: COF) retreated 7.47 percent after the McLean, Virginia-based company's fourth-quarter results trailed market expectations.
Life Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ: LIFE) soared 10.59 percent after the gene-sequencing company said it retained Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Moelis & Company LLC to assist in a strategic review.
Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) added 1.50 percent. Janney Capital upgraded the stock to "buy" from "neutral".
European markets ended mixed, with Germany's DAX down 0.43 percent to close at 7,702.23. France's CAC40 slid 0.07 percent to finish at 3,741.58. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 added 0.36 percent to end at 6,154.41.
Asian markets closed in green, with China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index jumping 1.41 percent to close at 2,317.07. Japan's Nikkei 225 surged 2.86 percent to finish at 10,913.30. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 1.12 percent to end at 23,601.78. India's BSE Sensex ended 0.38 percent higher at 20,039.04.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Crude oil futures shed 0.07 percent to $95.42 per barrel while natural gas futures climbed 2.35 percent to $3.58 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures slipped 0.37 percent to $1,684.60 per ounce while silver futures rose 0.13 percent to $31.85 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro lost 0.43 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.3318. The British pound dropped 0.74 percent against the greenback to 1.5875, while the dollar added 0.21 percent against the Japanese yen to 90.0700.