1:20 PM – U.S indexes traded sideways after industrial production was unchanged. Factory production increased 0.7% and mining and utility output declined in January. Regional survey of New York indicated expanding manufacturing.
U.S. stocks traded lower after rising in the morning trading as caution prevailed ahead of the euro zone ministers’ decision on Greek bailout.
Industrial production in January was unchanged as gains in factories were offsets by the declines in the utilities and mining output.
Factory production increased 0.7% after revised 1.5% gain in December. Output at utilities declined 2.5% in January and mining production that includes oil drilling dropped 1.8%
The factories expanded in the month and the data were confirmed by a regional survey in the New York region. The Empire State Index increased to 19.5 from 13.5 in January.
In a separate survey, home builder confidence index increased in February to 29, according to the data collected by the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo.
European Economies Shrank
European markets traded sideways as Greek bailout decision gets delayed one more time and gross domestic product in the 17-nation euro zone and the 27-member EU region declined 0.3%.
The euro zone economy shrank for the first time in December quarter from the second quarter in 2009, according to the preliminary data released by the statistics office of the European Union.
The region’s biggest economy of Germany shrank 0.2% in the quarter from the October quarter. For the second quarter the economies of Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Italy shrank and entered in a technical recession.
China pledged to invest in a bailout fund but stopped short of the size and the nature of the commitment. People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said at a speech in Beijing today, “China will adhere to the principle of holding assets of EU sovereign debt.” He added China “would participate in resolving the euro debt crisis.”
Abercrombie & Fitch Co.
) increased 10.2% or $4.57 to $49.16 after the specialty retailer reported fourth quarter net sales increased 16% to $1.33 billion from $1.15 billion in the same quarter last year. Total comparable store sales for the quarter were flat from last year. Net income in the quarter declined to $19.6 million or 22 cents per diluted share compared to $92.6 million or $1.03 per diluted share in the year ago earlier.
) gained 5.5% or $1.50 to $28.75 after the cable network operator reported fourth quarter total revenue soared 55% to $15.0 billion from $9.7 billion in the same quarter last year. Net income in the quarter increased 26% to $1.29 billion or 47 cents per diluted share compared to $1.02 billion or 36 cents per diluted share in the year ago.
Deere & Company
) decreased 3.1% or $2.79 to $86.26 after the agriculture machinery maker reported first quarter net sales increased 11% to $6.77 billion from $6.12 billion in the same quarter last year. Net income in the quarter increased 4% to $533 million or $1.30 per diluted share compared to $514 million or $1.20 per diluted share in the year ago.
) increased 4.1% or $2.08 to $52.38 after the food processing company agreed to acquire Procter & Gamble''s Pringles business for $2.7 billion. Pringles had annual global sales of $1.5 billion across more than 140 countries. The companies expect to complete the transaction by this summer.
) increased 2.4% or 91 cents to $38.23 after the insurance company reported fourth quarter total revenue increased 19% to $16.7 billion from $12.7 billion in the same quarter last year. Net income in the quarter surged to $1.13 billion or $1.06 a diluted share compared to $0.51 billion or 5 cents per diluted share in the year ago.