Stocks edge higher after consumer sentiment rises
Leading economic indicators are also up. Global markets climb as Germany's Merkel backs the euro and the ECB. Apple hits a new high. Gap beats estimates, while Aeropostale misses. Marvell's results disappoint, and Groupon drops on a downgrade.
Updated at 12:20 p.m. ET
Stocks continued to trade in a narrow range Friday as has often been the case recently during this quiet summer period. Markets lacked conviction even after reports that consumer confidence rose in August and leading economic indicators climbed in July. Meanwhile, Apple (AAPL) shares hit another high, as Marvell Technology (MRVL) plunged on earnings.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) was up 17 points at 13,267. The S&P 500 ($INX) was up 1 point at 1,417. The Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) was up 8 points at 3,071.
U.S. markets closed higher Thursday after German Chancellor Angela Merkel's remarks supporting the euro and the European Central Bank. The Dow closed up 85 points, the S&P 500 was up 10 points, and the Nasdaq ended the day 31 points higher.
US economic data
The University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment Index rose to a preliminary reading of 73.6 in August from a final reading of 72.3 in July. Economists had expected the August reading to come in at 72.2, according to Briefing.com.
The index of leading economic indicators ticked 0.4% higher in July after falling 0.3% in June, according to the Conference Board, indicating the slow growth in the U.S. economy is likely to continue. Economists had expected an increase of 0.2%, according to Briefing.com.
Merkel's -- and Germany's -- support for the ECB's actions to help indebted countries and their commitment and support of the euro had a global influence.
European stocks traded in positive territory and the euro posted gains after Merkel on Thursday backed the ECB's approach to defending the euro and helping reduce borrowing costs in indebted countries when talking to reporters in Ottawa. Merkel added, "On many of these issues we feel we're on the right track."
Asian shares were also higher, with the Japan's Nikkei ending at its highest level in over three months, buoyed by Merkel's comments as well as by a forecast by the Japanese government that the country's long deflationary conditions might end this year.
Gold on Friday extended gains from the previous session. On Thursday, gold rose the most in two weeks after Merkel's remarks. Meanwhile, oil prices fell after the U.S. said it was considering the release of oil reserves to dampen prices and concerns over an Israeli attack in Iran eased.
Stocks to watch
Gap (GPS) reported a 29% rise in quarterly profit that topped analysts' estimates, aided by domestic sales. The largest U.S. specialty-apparel retailer also raised its full-year earnings forecast.
Chipmaker Marvell Technology (MRVL) dropped after the company posted second-quarter earnings and said current-quarter results may miss expectations.
Brocade Communications Systems (BRCD), a maker of switches for data-storage networks that has been seeking to sell itself, said its chief executive officer will resign.
Food producer J.M. Smucker (SJM) reported fiscal-first-quarter profit of $1.17 per share, excluding certain items, 17 cents above estimates. Smucker also increased its quarterly dividend by 8%.
Athletic footwear retailer Foot Locker (FL) reported second-quarter profit of $0.38 per share, excluding certain items, 5 cents above estimates.
Teen retailer Aeropostale (ARO) reported a breakeven second quarter, matching Street estimates, while sales fell slightly short of expectations. The retailer also sees a soft start to the back-to-school season, and its third-quarter earnings forecast is below estimates.
Facebook (FB) closed down 6.3% Thursday after the end of a lockup period for its shares. It was the second-largest post-lockup decline among companies that have gone public since January 2011, Bloomberg reports.
Groupon's (GRPN) shares fell after Evercore Partners analysts downgraded shares of the daily-deals specialist to "underweight" and cut the target price on the stock to $3 a share from $6.50 a share.
Samsung rested its case in a patent-infringement trial with Apple (AAPL) after witnesses said the iPhone maker would owe the South Korean company as much as $421.8 million in royalties. Apple shares, meanwhile, reached a record close of $636.34 in regular trading Thursday. Reports about the company's next product releases pushed the stock to new highs Friday.
I will take Any Rand over Karl Marx, Jeremiah Wright, Frank Marshal Davis, Mao, Chavez, George Soros and Bill Ayers. Rand had some good points (mostly about government control versus Freedom and Liberty) that I agree with but a lot that I don't agree with.
I think they have been blabbering about an Israeli attack on Iran for over a year now...?
Saber rattling like us with Korea in the past, and Hormuz also....
Of course,..We could block the Straits ourselves with one more blunder of being run over by a tanker.
Consumer Sentiment is alive and well.....What you are really missing, is "wealthy people" are sneaking back into the Markets for better returns...
Quit reading and ranting about Politics and learn something about Investing and the Markets.
I thought that is what you came here for , besides reading and replying to the spam....
Close the banks. End the Fed. Get rid of Wall Street. If you aren't 100% invested in job recovery you won't be here by New Year.
Pierce was our 14th President and served from 1853-1857. John Fremont defeated Pierce in his bid for renomination, making Pierce the only elected President (rather than a Vice President who succeeded to the position) to not gain his party's nomination for a second term.
He didn't want to do it 1 year ago when gas was at almost $5.00
Now , well now, it's election time and anything goes and I mean ANYTHING !
SEE THE MOVIE !
From what i read and hear, it exposes ALL of the mystery behind our Dear Leader.
Why he left his brother and Fathers sister in absolute , third world poverty even today.
Why he hates capitalism, anything British, his views are translated in a way that you understand the motivation behind destroying America to transform it to AMERIKA
May 26, 2001-10:11 am Paul Ryan voted yes for Bush tax cuts 1.8 trillion and counting---unfunded
Oct 10, 2002- 3:05 pm voted yes to invade Iraq 1.3 trillon and counting---unfunded
May 23, 2003 1:56 am voted yes on Bush's 2nd tax cuts 4.4 trillion and counting---unfunded
June 27, 2003 voted yes for the perscription drug bill 730 billion and counting---unfunded
This is why the deficits are huge but Paul Ryan has no manhood to fess up to how he voted and the results of them. They blame Obama but this is facts and the bills that are continuing to run up for the lame duck and he hides with no morals to face the facts, but instead is a coward and blames Obama for his own voting record for running up the deficit !!!!!!!!
Ron Paul is the man....
I still say we offer immunity to illegals in the US now that do not have criminal records on the condition that they buy a home.... Interest rates are low.... plenty of empty houses... They got jobs.
Kill two birds with one stone.
For the song of the day: I nominate; (no fluffy 70's crap-I promise)
Dazed and confused-Led Zepplin
Just look at the chart today.
MORE ON MSN MONEY
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Quotes are real-time for NASDAQ, NYSE and AMEX. See delay times for other exchanges.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Thomson Reuters (click for restrictions). Real-time quotes provided by BATS Exchange. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Interactive Data Real-Time Services. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by SIX Financial Information.
Global markets reacted to the mixed message from the Fed by selling. But there is indication of another rally phase ahead..
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.