U.S. stocks open mixed, home sales report ahead; Dow Jones down 0.07%

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Investing.com - U.S. stocks opened mixed on Friday, as markets anticipated the release of U.S. new home sales data later in the trading session, after upbeat U.S. economic reports on Thursday supported equity markets.

During early U.S. trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average eased 0.07%, the S&P 500 inched up 0.03%, while the Nasdaq Composite index added 0.18%.

U.S. equities found support on Thursday, after the Department of Labor said the number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week fell by 3,000 to 336,000, slightly below expectations for a decline of 4,000.

The Labor Department also said U.S. consumer prices rose 1.6% on a year-over-year basis in January, in line with forecasts. Consumer prices were 0.1% higher from a month earlier, also matching forecasts.

The data came after Wednesday's minutes of the Federal Reserve's January meeting indicated that that the current pace of its decrease in bond purchases would remain unchanged, so long as the economy shows signs of improvement.

In the financial sector, Citigroup added 0.17% following reports it boosted Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat's compensation 25% to about $14.4 million for 2013.

Juniper Networks surged 2.15%, as the company announced plans to return at least $3 billion to shareholders and cut $160 million in expenses, bowing to pressure from activist hedge funds Elliott Management Corp. and Jana Partners LLC.

Amazon.com added to gains, up 1.01%, after the Wall Street Journal reported that the online retailer had discussions on whether to add brands including Ralph Lauren.

On the downside, Facebook dropped 0.45% as investors were still digesting the social network's announcement earlier in the week that it bought of mobile-messaging startup WhatsApp Inc. for as much as $19 billion.

In earnings news, late Thursday, Hewlett-Packard reported fiscal first-quarter sales and profit that topped market estimates, thanks to new orders for corporate machines and servers to run data centers. The news sent shares in the personal-computer maker up 1.23% at the open of the U.S. trading session.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were mixed to higher. The EURO STOXX 50 edged up 0.15%, France's CAC 40 rose 0.19%, Germany's DAX dipped 0.01%, while Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.17%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 0.78%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rallied 2.88%.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release private sector data on existing homes sales.

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

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

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