2:25 PM New York – Stocks in New York traded higher and the S&P 500 index inched to a new high in the year after a string of earnings report and improving economic data from China and European lawmakers agreed to trim seven year budget. Oil gained.
U.S. stocks traded higher after trade deficit narrowed in December and wholesale inventories unexpectedly fell in December for the first time in six months.
U.S. trade deficit in December declined 21% on lower net petroleum imports. In 2012, trade deficit declined 3.5% to $540.5 billion and exports rose 4.4% to $2.2 trillion and imports increased 2.7% to $2.74 trillion.
Oil gained after China reported a surge in exports in January indicating recovering demand in domestic and world markets.
Markets in Asia and Europe were higher after China reported a surge in exports to the U.S. and Europe and domestic demand improved. Exports soared 12.4% and imports increased 3.4% after adjusting for holiday calendar shift. Exports to the U.S. increased at the fastest pace in 10 months and to the EU in a year.
Retailers reported better than expected same store sales in January. Target Corp comparable sales increased 3.1% and Costco Wholesale domestic sales increased 3%. Macy’s same store sales increased 11.7% and Kohl’s sales gained 13.3%. Nordstrom sales jumped 11.4% and Gap sales jumped 4%.
On the earnings front, AOL fourth quarter net surged 57% and Buckeye net plunged 42%. CBOE fourth quarter net climbed 25% and Entergy net soared 92%. LinkedIn net vaulted 67% and the site crossed 200 million members. Moody’s fourth quarter net jumped 66%.
European markets edged up after European Union leaders agreed to trim budget spending in the next seven-year.
In European corporate news, online gambling stocks in London traded higher after New Jersey Governor said he would online wagering on games operated by Atlantic City casinos. Software AG increased on a stock buyback plan. Telecom Italia reported 11.7 billion euros in operating earnings.
Stocks in Tokyo halted a 12-week rally and closed down on Friday. Nikkei declined 0.3% in the week after the yen pause its recent slide. Sony plunged 10% after investors take profit after the stock ran up 42% in January.
In Mumbai trading, the cement maker ACC said third quarter net declined 18.6% and Balaji Telefilms net soared more than three-fold. Cadila Health net plunged 31% and the tractor and truck maker M&M net jumped 30%. The tire maker MRF said net surged 60%. Sun Pharmaceuticals net tumbled 80%.
Australian stocks closed at a 22-month high after investors reacted to positive international trade data from China. Reserve Bank of Australia lowered its economic growth rate for 2013 and estimated inflation to be within its target range.
Commodities, Bonds and Currencies
U.S. treasury yield on 10-year bond increased to 1.96% and on 30-year bond closed unchanged at 3.18%.
The U.S. dollar inched lower to $1.336 to a euro and increased against the Japanese yen to 92.81 yen.
Immediate delivery futures of Texas crude oil decreased 11 cents to $95.72 a barrel and Brent crude rose $1.45 to $118.67, futures of natural gas increased 0.01 cents to $3.29 per mbtu and gasoline traded up 5.2 cents to 305.20 cents a gallon.
In metals trading, gold decreased $3.90 to $1,667.30 per ounce and silver rose 5 cents to $31.45 and copper increased 3 cents to $3.75 a pound.