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Midday Market Update

Stocks Higher After Trade Data


U.S. Market
Stocks were higher this morning after encouraging trade data in both the U.S. and China.

The U.S. trade gap narrowed 21% in December to $38.54 billion, the biggest one-month contraction in almost 4 years. Lower oil prices were a major contributor to the decline. The unexpectedly large decline should lead to a large upward revision in fourth-quarter GDP.

Wholesale inventories fell 0.1% in December; economists had expected a 0.5% increase.  The decrease could be a sign that businesses were very cautious at the end of the year as Washington fought over how to handle the fiscal cliff.

China saw its exports rise 25% year-over-year in January, an acceleration from the 14.1% increase in December. Analysts had expected a more modest 17.7% increase in the month.

At midday the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq were up 0.3%, 0.5% and 0.9% respectively.

Stocks on the Move
Shares of  LinkedIn (LNKD) soared over 18% this morning after the firm reported a 66% rise in net income late Thursday. The firm says it now has over 200 million members and that revenue from premium subscriptions has risen 79% to $59.4 million. Earnings per share of 35 cents was well above the 19 cents per share expected by analysts.

Foreign Markets
European markets were mostly higher on the day. In late trading, the FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and Paris CAC were up 0.5%, 0.7% and 1.2% respectively.

Asian shares were mixed as positive trade data lifted Chinese shares. The Shanghai Composite was up 0.6%, the Hang Seng was 0.2% higher while the Nikkei 225 dropped 1.8%.

Jeremy Glaser does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.