(By Balaseshan) U.S. stocks ended on a mixed note after a report that Wal-Mart's monthly sales were negatively impacted by payroll tax rise. The G20 summit in Moscow and eurozone growth concerns too weighed on the sentiment.
The S&P 500 Index inched down 0.10 percent to end at 1,519.79. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.06 percent to finish at 13,981.76. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.21 percent to close at 3,192.03.
On the U.S. data front, the Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated that conditions for New York manufacturers improved for the first time since the summer of last year. The New York Federal Reserve's empire state manufacturing index rose to positive 10.0 in February from negative 7.78 in January, while economists expected a reading of negative 2.0.
The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment reading came in at 76.3 last month from a final reading of 73.8 in January, while economists expected a reading of 74.8. The Federal Reserve reported that industrial production in the U.S. edged down 0.1 percent in January after a revised 0.4 percent rise in December, while economists expected 0.2 percent rise.
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.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: WMT, HLF, QLIK, LOGM, IPGP, EHTH
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) shed 2.39 percent after a report that the payroll tax increase is negatively impacting February sales. Sales slumped this month as payroll-tax increases hit shoppers already battling a slow economy, the Bloomberg reported citing to internal emails.
Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) gained 2.17 percent after activist investor Carl Icahn reported a 13 percent stake in the company. Icahn, who along with his affiliates now own a total of about 14 million shares of Herbalife, said he acquired the shares as he believed that they were undervalued.
Qlik Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: QLIK) climbed 18.19 percent after the company posted better than expected fourth quarter results and guided fiscal 2013 above consensus.
LogMeIn Inc. (NASDAQ: LOGM) plunged 29.75 percent after the company issued first quarter and fiscal 2013 guidance that was below market expectations despite better than expected fourth quarter results.
IPG Photonics Corp. (NASDAQ: IPGP) fell 9.54 percent after the company posted lower than expected fourth quarter results despite in line first quarter guidance.
eHealth Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) dropped 22.44 percent after the company guided fiscal 2013 below consensus.
Motorcar Parts of America Inc. (NASDAQ: MPAA) fell 17.02 percent after the company's third quarter results missed market expectations.
European markets ended mixed, with Germany's DAX down 0.49 percent to close at 7,593.51. France's CAC40 shed 0.25 percent to finish at 3,660.37. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 inched 0.01 percent higher to end at 6,328.26.
Asia markets also ended mixed. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.57 percent to end at $2,432.40. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.13 percent to close at 23,444.56. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.18 percent to end at 11,173.83. India's Sensex closed at 19,468.15, down 0.15 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Crude oil futures slid 1.48 percent to $95.87 per barrel, while natural gas futures rose 0.16 percent to $3.17 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures fell 1.73 percent to $1,606.61 per ounce and silver futures slipped 2.01 percent to $29.79 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro lost 0.04 percent against the U.S. dollar at 1.3358. The British pound added 0.15 percent against the greenback to 1.5518, and the dollar rose 0.62 percent against the Japanese yen to 93.4600.