2:15 PM New York – U.S. stocks traded higher after Hewlett Packard and AIG results surpassed expectations. In addition, German business confidence index rose in February lifting the outlook for world exports. European Commission lowered its economic assessment of the region.
Market indexes in New York gained after German business confidence rose more than expected and but enthusiasm was tempered after European Commission offered a bleak assessment for the European Union.
Markets were primed to open higher after Hewlett Packard reported better expected lowered earnings and offered a rosier outlook for the current year. AIG also said late Thursday that it swung to a loss but several business segments reported operating profit.
In addition, Germany based Ifo Institute reported its business climate index increased to 107.4 in February from 104.3 in January, highest since April.
Separately, European Commission estimated economy of the European Union in 2013 would grow barely 0.1% and in the euro zone shrink 0.3%, second annual decline in a row.
Olin Rehn, the European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, said in a statement that the austerity measures across the region are working and the growth will pick up in 2014. He estimated European Union growth to increase to 1.6% and in the euro zone of 1.4%.
The weak assessment dampened the prices in commodities markets. Crude oil declined 0.2% to $92.72 a barrel and gold declined 0.4% to $1,573 an ounce.
Stocks in Review
Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF
) dropped 6% after the teenage apparel retailer offered weaker than expected outlook and said it plans to close 40 to 50 stores in the U.S. in 2013. The company also estimated a loss in the current quarter.
Cabot Oil & Gas (COG
) soared 10% after the natural gas producer said earnings soared 55% on higher production.
Hewlett Packard (HWP
) soared 15% after the largest maker of personal computers estimated higher than expected fiscal second quarter earnings on cost cutting and smaller than estimated decline in services sales.
Home Depot (HD
) gained 2% after the home improvement retailer was recommended by Oppenheimer & Co analyst.
Newmont Mining Corp (NEM
) increased 1.1% to $41 after the largest U.S. based gold and copper producer reported higher than expected fourth quarter earings.
Texas Instruments (TXN
) surged 5% after the chipmaker increased dividend by 33% and expanded its stock repurchase program to $5 billion.
WebMD Health (WBMD
) soared 26% after the health information provider reported adjusted earnings and revenues ahead of expectations and offered higher than expected 2013 earnings view.