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Stocks End Mixed After Data, Obama Address; Cliffs Natural (CLF) Drops

 February 13, 2013 05:16 PM

(By Balaseshan) U.S. stocks ended on a mixed note as investors weighed on economic data, earnings reports and the President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.

The S&P 500 Index rose 0.06 percent to end at 1,520.33. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.26 percent to finish at 13,982.91. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.33 percent to close at 3,196.88.

Obama delivered his State of the Union address Tuesday and proposed spending on infrastructure and environmental projects. The President presented a proposal to raise the national minimum wage to $9 an hour and urged a resolution to the "sequester" or automatic spending cuts that will take effect in just two weeks.

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department reported January retail sales and core retail sales rose 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. Core sales topped economists expectations of a 0.1 percent rise, while retail sales came in line. Core retail sales measures the change in the total value of sales at the retail level in the U.S., excluding automobiles.

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A government data showed that import prices unexpectedly rose 0.6 percent in January after a revised 0.5 percent fall in December, while economists expected a gain of 0.7 percent. Export prices also added 0.3 percent after a 0.1 percent decline in November.

Hot Stocks Of The Day: GE, CMCSA, CMCSK, CLF, RAX, CTRN, DE, DF, WU

General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) gained 3.57 percent and Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) added 2.39 percent after GE has agreed to sell its balance 49 percent common equity interest in the NBCUniversal joint venture and related assets to Comcast for about $18.1 billion.

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Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSK) rose 1.78 percent after the company posted a 18 percent increase in quarterly earnings on higher broadcast business growth and a rise in internet services. The company also lifted its dividend by 20 percent and plans to repurchase $2.0 billion of its stock this year.

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) plunged 19.67 percent after the iron ore producer have slipped to a quarterly loss due hefty charges. In addition, the company slashed its quarterly dividend by 76 percent.

Rackspace Hosting Inc. (NYSE: RAX) dropped 20.10 percent after the company posted lower than expected fourth quarter results.

Citi Trends Inc. (NASDAQ: CTRN) fell 10.99 percent after the company expects to post a loss for the fourth quarter, due to a 1.5 percent decline in sales. Citi Trends currently expects a loss of about $0.07 per share for the fourth quarter.

Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) fell 3.43 percent. The company posted a 22 percent jump in quarterly earnings on higher sales of agriculture machines and equipment operations. Results exceeded Street's expectations.

Dean Foods Co. (NYSE: DF) plunged 9.68 percent. The company have swung to a quarterly profit on strong sales growth at WhiteWave-Alpro segment and higher commodity costs at Fresh Dairy Direct. Results exceeded Street's expectations.

Western Union Co. (NYSE: WU) shed 0.98 percent after the global payment services provider posted a 47 percent drop in quarterly earnings due to higher costs and expenses as well as a decline in consumer-to-consumer revenue. However, results exceeded Street's expectations.

Global Markets

European markets closed in green, with Germany's DAX up 0.67 percent to close at 7,711.89. France's CAC40 added 0.32 percent to finish at 3,698.53. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.33 percent to end at 6,359.11.

Asia markets ended mixed. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.57 percent to end at $2,432.40. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.16 percent to close at 23,215.16. Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 1.04 percent to end at 11,251.41. India's Sensex closed at 19,608.08, up 0.24 percent.

Commodity & Currency Scan

Crude oil futures shed 0.51 percent to $97.00 per barrel, while natural gas futures advanced 2.17 percent to $3.30 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures declined 0.53 percent to $1,642.60 per ounce and silver futures gained 0.95 percent to $30.82 per ounce.

In the currency market, the euro shed 0.04 percent against the U.S. dollar at 1.3448. The British pound lost 0.79 percent against the greenback to 1.5539, and the dollar fell 0.80 percent against the Japanese yen to 93.5700.



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