Investing.com - U.S. stocks opened higher on Wednesday, after
positive U.S. durable goods orders data and as investors eyed
comments by Federal Reserve head Ben Bernanke, although concerns
over Italy's political woes continued to weigh.
During early U.S. trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose
0.28%, the S&P 500 index added 0.28%, while the Nasdaq
Composite index edged up 0.24%.
The Commerce Department said durable goods orders dropped 5.2% in
January, compared to expectations for a decline of 4.4%.
Core durable goods orders, which exclude volatile transportation
items, rose 1.9% last month, compared to expectations for a 0.2%
Investors were looking ahead to a second day of Congressional
testimony by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke later in the
trading day. Bernanke defended the bank's easing program on
Tuesday, saying that the benefits outweighed the possible costs.
In the financial sector, shares were broadly higher. Citigroup
edged up 0.05% and Goldman Sachs climbed 0.86%, while Bank of
America jumped 0.99% and JP Morgan rallied 1.97%.
Among earnings, Coach surged 5.27% amid reports that the upscale
retailer is exploring a sale of itself. Separately, the company
said it has hired a former Nike executive to oversee the
transformation of its stores.
Adding to gains, Dollar Tree soared 8.93% tafter the discount
retailer posted earnings and revenue that exceeded expectations.
On the downside, Target tumbled 2.11%, even as the retailer posted
quarterly results that topped expectations for the holiday quarter.
Investors remained concerned however, over the company's ability to
reach its forecast, given its large-scale expansion plans in
Elsewhere, solar panel maker First Solar dove 14.89% after posting
revenue and outlook tbelow market expectations. In addition, Baird
cut its rating on the company to "neutral" from "outperform".
Apple shares also traded lower, dropping 0.80%, ahead of the
company's shareholders meeting. On Tuesday, shares were boosted by
speculation the iPhone maker could announce plans to enhance
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The EURO
STOXX 50 climbed 0.80%, France's CAC 40 jumped 1.09%, Germany's DAX
advanced 0.55%, while Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.25%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged
up 0.25%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index tumbled 1.27%.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to publish official data on pending
home sales later Wednesday, while European Central Bank President
Mario Draghi was to speak an event in Germany.
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