(By Balachander) U.S. stocks closed in green as investors weighed a set of better-than-expected corporate earnings reports.
The S&P 500 Index rose 0.44 percent to end at 1,492.50. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.46 percent to finish at 13,712.13. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.27 percent to close at 3,143.18.
On the domestic data front, the National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales unexpectedly fell in December to 4.94 million from 4.99 million in November, while analysts expected sales of 5.10 million.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: DD, FCX, TRV, RIMM, EAT, ARNA, IIVI, ATNI, HOTT, PETS
DuPont (NYSE: DD) gained 1.77 percent after the chemical company's quarterly results topped Wall Street expectations.
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE: FCX) jumped 4.61 percent after the miner posted an increase in quarterly earnings and revenue.
Travelers Companies Inc. (NYSE: TRV) added 2.03 percent after the property insurer posted its quarterly results. The company's earnings fell due to higher catastrophe losses, while revenue and net written premiums rose.
Research In Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) surged 13.01 percent after its chief executive Thorsten Heins reportedly said the BlackBerry maker is mulling strategic options, including selling its hardware unit.
Brinker International Inc. (NYSE: EAT) lost 2.40 percent after the restaurant company announced its second-quarter results, with revenue trailing market expectations.
Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA) tumbled 9.72 percent after the company said it received the 180-day list of outstanding issues from the European regulators related to its weight-loss drug Belviq.
II-VI Inc. (NASDAQ: IIVI) slumped 9.51 percent after the maker of opto-electronic components posted second-quarter results that missed consensus and offered a downbeat full year view.
Atlantic Tele-Network Inc. (NASDAQ: ATNI) jumped 12.27 percent after telecom giant AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) agreed to buy U.S. retail wireless operations of the company for about $780 million in cash.
Hot Topic Inc. (NASDAQ: HOTT) shed 1.51 percent after the apparel retailer announced the resignation of CFO Jim McGinty, effective March 29, 2013. The company named George Wehlitz as CFO on an interim basis.
Petmed Express Inc. (NASDAQ: PETS) gained 3.47 percent after the pet pharmacy's quarterly earnings came in better than forecast.
Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Texas Instruments (NASDAQ: TXN) are due to report their results after the market closes.
European markets ended in red, with Germany's DAX down 0.68 percent to close at 7,696.21. France's CAC40 dropped 0.59 percent to finish at 3,741.01. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 fell 0.03 percent to end at 6,179.17.
Asian markets closed mixed, with China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index down 0.56 percent to close at 2,315.14. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.35 percent to finish at 10,709.93. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.29 percent to end at 23,658.99. India's BSE Sensex ended 0.60 percent lower at 19,981.57.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Crude oil futures added 0.71 percent to $96.24 per barrel while natural gas futures dipped 0.36 percent to $3.55 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures rose 0.24 percent to $1,691 per ounce and silver futures advanced 0.95 percent to $32.24 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro was flat against the U.S. dollar at 1.3317. The British pound inched up 0.02 percent against the greenback to 1.5833, while the dollar fell 0.98 percent against the Japanese yen to 88.7200.