12:30 PM New York – U.S. stocks extended gains for the third day as political leaders prepare for a military strike against Syria on flimsy evidence and weak arguments. U.S. trade deficit in July widened to $39.1 billion. Euro zone economic growth was confirmed at 0.3%.
Stocks in financial trading gained and indexes traded at one-week high ahead of a Senate Committee vote on military strike against Syria.
Investors also awaited the regional economic survey from the Federal Reserve Bank at 2 p.m. EDT in Washington.
S&P 500 index increased 0.8% to 1,653.89 and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 1% to 3,648.74.
U.S. Trade Deficit Widened
U.S. trade deficit in July widened to $39.1 billion from $34.5 billion in June, Commerce Department said today.
July exports slid $1.1 billion and imports grew $3.5 billion from June. The goods deficit climbed $58.6 billion and service surplus slid to $0.1 billion. The goods and services deficit dropped $4.3 billion.
Euro Zone Growth Reaffirmed
Second estimate of the second quarter gross domestic product showed an increase of 0.3% in the euro-area and 0.4% in wider region of EU27 nations compared to previous quarter.
Compared to year ago period gross domestic product fell 0.5% in the euro-area and was stable in the EU27. In first quarter, GDP fell 0.2% in the euro zone and declined 0.1% in the wider EU 27 region.
Market indexes in the euro zone gained in 12 of the 18 nations. The widely followed index in London increased 0.1% and Paris and Frankfurt gained 0.2%.
The MIB Index in Milan declined 1.4% on a report in the Repubblica newspaper that former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi may withdraw its support in the coalition government.
U.S. Stocks in Review
Apple Inc (AAPL
) gained 2% ahead of its scheduled industry conference next week and Cantor Fitzgerald LP initiated coverage of the stock with a price target of $770 in the next 12 months.
Ciena Corp (CIEN
) soared 9% after communication devices maker reported better than expected third quarter earnings and estimated higher than expected fourth-quarter sales.
Dollar General (DG
) gained 4% after the deep discount retailer reported adjusted second-quarter earnings of 77 cents a share, ahead of estimate of at least 73 cents a share.
H&R Block Inc (HRB
) declined 3% after the tax-return preparer reported adjusted fiscal first-quarter loss of 40 cents a share.
J.C. Penney & Co. (JCP
) increased 6% after Glenview Capital Management LLC increased its stake in the company to 20.1 million shares from 8.4 million shares as reported in June 30 filing.
) dropped 2% after the professional networking site operator said in a regulatory filing with the SEC that it plans to sell 4.17 million shares of its Class A stock. Based on the current share price, the company plans to raise $1 billion.