(By Balaseshan) U.S. stocks ended on a mixed note as better than expected jobs report and a flurry of merger deals overshadowed weaker-than-expected growth data from Europe and Japan.
The S&P 500 Index rose 0.07 percent to end at 1,521.38. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.07 percent to finish at 13,973.39. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.06 percent to close at 3,198.66.
On the domestic economic front, the number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits fell more than forecast last week, a government data showed. Jobless claims declined 27,000 to 341,000 for the week ended Feb. 9 from a revised 368,000, while economists projected a fall to 360,000 applications.
On the European front, the eurozone slipped deeper than predicted into recession in the fourth quarter due to weaker than expected GDP figures from Germany and France. Data showed the recession in the euro area deepened with the worst performance in almost four years, according to the Bloomberg.
Japan's GDP shrank 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter, while economists expected 0.1 percent growth. French statistical office INSEE reported that French GDP fell 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter from last quarter, compared to the 0.2 percent drop expected by economists. Germany also reported a weaker than expected 0.6 percent GDP decline for the fourth quarter.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: HNZ, STZ, CSCO, LCC, WTW, CTL, PEP, DTV, GM
H.J. Heinz Co. (NYSE: HNZ) surged 19.65 percent after the company has agreed to be bought by an investment consortium comprised of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A) and 3G Capital for $28 billion, including assumption of debt.
Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ) jumped 35.92 percent after it and Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD) announced a revised agreement, for the complete divestiture of Grupo Modelo's U.S. business. The deal establishes Crown Imports as a fully owned entity of STZ, and provides STZ with independent brewing operations, Modelo's full profit stream from all U.S. sales, and rights in perpetuity to the Grupo Modelo brands distributed by Crown in the U.S.
US Airways Group Inc. (NYSE: LCC) decreased 6.82 percent after the board of directors of American Airlines Inc. and US Airways have agreed to combine businesses to create a premier global carrier, which will have an implied combined equity value of about $11 billion based on the price of US Airways' stock as of February 13, 2013.
Weight Watchers International Inc. (NYSE: WTW) fell 17.56 percent after the company guided fiscal 2013 earnings below market expectations despite better than projected fourth quarter results.
CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) plunged 22.67 percent after the telecom company's fourth quarter results missed market expectations and it planned to drop quarterly dividend by 26 percent. The company also guided full year 2013 earnings guidance below Street's view.
PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP) added 1.01 percent after the company reported a rise in earnings for the fourth quarter as organic revenue increase across its divisions. Despite adjusted earnings declining by 5.2 percent, results topped market expectations.
DIRECTV (NASDAQ: DTV) fell 3.18 percent after the provider of direct-to-home (DTH) digital television services reported higher quarterly earnings and revenue amid a drop in net subscriber additions at its U.S. segment. Results exceeded Street's expectations.
General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) declined 3.38 percent after the automaker posted better than expected fourth quarter results.
European markets closed in red, with Germany's DAX down 1.05 percent to close at 7,631.19. France's CAC40 fell 0.78 percent to finish at 3,669.60. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 shed 0.50 percent to end at 6,327.36.
Asia markets ended mixed. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.57 percent to end at $2,432.40. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.85 percent to close at 23,413.25. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.50 percent to end at 11,307.28. India's Sensex closed at 19,497.18, down 0.57 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Crude oil futures rose 0.35 percent to $97.32 per barrel, while natural gas futures fell 4.05 percent to $3.17 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures shed 0.40 percent to $1,635.99 per ounce and silver futures slipped 1.07 percent to $30.46 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro lost 0.77 percent against the U.S. dollar at 1.3348. The British pound shed 0.36 percent against the greenback to 1.5486, and the dollar declined 0.36 percent against the Japanese yen to 93.0500.