(By Mani) U.S. stocks closed higher on strong U.S. earnings reports from Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) and Honeywell International (NYSE: HON).
Moreover, the benchmark S&P 500 index closed above the 1,500 level for the first time in more than five years. The S&P 500 Index gained 0.54 percent at 1,502.94.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.51 percent to finish at 13,895.98. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.62 percent to close at 3,149.71.
On the domestic economic front, new home sales in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in the month of December, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Friday. The report showed that new home sales dropped 7.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000 in December from the revised November rate of 398,000. Economists had expected new home sales to climb to 388,000 from the 377,000 originally reported for the previous month.
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Oshkosh Corp. (NYSE: OSK) surged as much as 19 percent after it reported higher profit for its first quarter, despite lower sales. The company has also raised its earnings outlook for fiscal 2013.
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Compuware Corp. (NASDAQ: CPWR) gained 8 percent after it has rejected Elliott Management Corp.'s 42.35 billion, or $11 a share, takeover bid citing that the offer undervalues the company and is not in the best interest of shareholders. The company also plans to spin-off remaining Covisint shares to Compuware shareholders following an initial public offering, or IPO.
Coffee maker Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) reported a 13.1 percent increase in quarterly earnings, which came in line with Street, on strong traffic growth. Shares were up 4 percent on Friday.
Shares of Synaptics, Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA) climbed 22 percent after the human interface solutions provider reported better-than-expected results for the second quarter. The company also forecast revenue for the third quarter above analysts' expectations.
Software company Informatica Corp.'s (NASDAQ: INFA) shares surged almost 20 percent as its quarterly earnings topped Street view despite falling 27 percent from last year.
QLogic Corp. (NASDAQ: QLGC) shares surged 19 percent as the networking-infrastructure firm posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings and predicted an upbeat quarter ahead.
Select Comfort Corp.'s (NASDAQ: SCSS) shares plunged 15 percent after its fourth-quarter earnings fell 19 percent as the mattress seller incurred higher costs. Results also missed Street expectations and the company also issued downbeat guidance for the new year.
Semiconductor company Cirrus Logic Inc. (NASDAQ: CRUS) advanced 13 percent after it reported better-than-expected results for the third quarter on strong demand for its audio products.
European markets ended in green, with Germany's DAX up 1.42 percent to close at 7,857.97. France's CAC40 advanced 0.69 percent to finish at 3,778.16, and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.31 percent to end at 6,284.45.
Asian markets closed mixed, with China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index down 0.49 percent to close at 2,291.30. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 2.28 percent to finish at 10,926.65. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index shed 0.08 percent to end at 23,580.43. India's BSE Sensex ended 0.90 percent higher at 20,103.53.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Crude oil futures rose 0.05 percent to $96 per barrel while natural gas futures dropped 0.15 percent to $3.45 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures fell 0.70 percent to $1,658.20 per ounce while silver futures shed 1.63 percent to $31.21 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro added 0.62 percent against the U.S. dollar at 1.3460. The British pound rose 0.11 percent against the greenback to 1.5808, while the dollar gained 0.66 percent against the Japanese yen to 90.9300.