US Indexes Sitting Higher as Chinese Trade Data Eases Slowdown Concerns; Deal News Continues

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Stocks are logging gains through to the session's half as new data on China's trade helped to quell concerns over easing economic activity for the world's second largest economy. Deal news from the tech sector and import price data also added to the mix.

China logged an $11.4 billion trade surplus in April, which was nearly four times higher than expected, reports Business Spectator.

Also, U.S. import prices rose 2.2% in April, according to statistics from the US Labor Department. The move is the first time prices have risen over 2% in consecutive months since June 2008, MarketWatch noted. The move also follows a 2.7% rise in March and beats the 1.6% rise that economists had expected.

In deal news:

Microsoft ( MSFT ) is just lower after it says it will buy Skype for $8.5 billion. Microsoft said it will continue to support Skype on other software platforms. The sellers include eBay ( EBAY ) and private equity firms Silver Lake and Andreessen Horowitz. EBAY was last up 2.84%.

Elsewhere in company news:

Shares of Abbot Laboratories ( ABT ) are near the flatline as Reuters reports that the drugmaker's Humira, to treat ulcerative colitis--a bowel disease--met the main goal of a late-stage trial. In the results, the company said 16.5 percent of patients who were treated with Humira went into clinical remission compared to 9.3 percent on placebo.

Google Inc. ( GOOG ) is off its early high of $541.65, but still holding fractional gains after a report that it could begin offering music downloads as early as today. The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that Google could announce the service, which would compete with Apple ( AAPL ) and Amazon.com (AMZN) music services, at its annual Google I/O developers conference in San Francisco.

Whirlpool (WHR) today announced that the United States District Court in Chicago refused to award any relief to LG on the last remaining claim in a lawsuit filed by LG in 2008. The Court found that "Whirlpool has established that its dryers do, in fact, use steam", and that "LG did not introduce expert testimony or credible evidence of even a single Whirlpool customer, retailer, or trade representative who expressed confusion."

Boston Scientific (BSX) announced that Ray Elliott will retire as President and Chief Executive Officer on December 31, 2011. The Board has created a special CEO search committee, on which Elliott will serve as a member, to select the company's next President and CEO.

Goldman Sachs (GS) shares are higher as Bloomberg reports the fifth-largest US bank cut its estimated losses due to legal claims by 21 percent for the first quarter. The firm's quarterly filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission shows "reasonably possible" losses from lawsuits dropped from $3.4 billion to $2.7 billion at the end of March, the report said.

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) shares are higher as Reuters reports South Africa's government may demand local procurement targets in the retailer's acquisition attempt for retailer Massmart--potentially derailing the deal. Officials in South Africa are hearing testimony until next week on whether Wal-Mart should be allowed to proceed with its buy.

In earnings news:

--Wendy's/Arby's (WEN) eases after it says Q1 adjusted EPS were a penny per share, a penny below the Thomson Reuters mean. Sales of $847.8 million topped forecasts for $845.6 million.

--Independent energy company, Carrizo Oil & Gas (CRZO) reported an increase in Q1 revenues to $44.06 million compared to Q1 2010's $38.96 million. Adjusted revenues were $52.9 million compared to the prior year's $43.9 million. Net income however plummeted to $0.73 million, or $0.02 per share, versus the prior-year quarter's $19.73 million, or $0.63 per share. Adjusted net income was $10.61 million, or $0.27 per share, a penny below the Thomson Reuters EPS mean of $0.28.

--Dean Foods (DF) rises after it says Q1 adjusted EPS were $0.14 compared to $0.24 a year earlier but better than the Thomson Reuters mean estimate for $0.06. Net sales rose 3% to $3.05 billion, about in line with the Street view.

Commodities are higher as June gold contracts are up 0.68%, to $1,513 an ounce while June crude oil contacts are up 0.48% to $103.15 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 0.32% to $41 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up 0.46%, to $10.82.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.26% at $147.77. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 0.35% to $57.01. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 1.41% to $37.50.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , ABT , EBAY , GOOG , MSFT

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