Stocks Break Losing Streak After Data


U.S. Market
Stocks broke their losing streak this morning after trade data.

The U.S. trade gap fell to $35.25 billion from $39.33 billion in November. Economists had expected the deficit to grow slightly. Exports rose 0.9% in the month, led by increases in sales to China, Canada and Mexico. Imports fell 1.4% in the month.

CoreLogic said that U.S. home prices moved up 0.1% in November from October levels. Home prices rose 11.8% year-over-year. The data firm also indicated that they expect 2014’s home price increases to be more modest.

At midday the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq were up 0.6%, 0.7% and 0.8% respectively.

Stocks on the Move
J.P. Morgan (JPM) agreed to pay $1.7 Billion to the Justice Department over claims that the bank failed to adequately warn investors about Bernie Madoff. Felony charges will be delayed by two years to give the bank time to reform its anti-money laundering polices. The bank may still have to pay additional penalties to other regulators. J.P. Morgan shares were down 1.3% at midday.

There were a handful of tech acquisitions announced today. Oracle (ORCL) said it has acquired privately-held software company Corente for an undisclosed sum to help boost their cloud software offerings. While Microsoft (MSFT) picked up cloud-based customer service firm Parature. Both Oracle and Microsoft were up less than 1% at midday.

Foreign Markets
Bank stocks led European markets higher today. In late trading, the FTSE 100 was up 0.4% while the Paris CAC and Germany’s DAX were each up 0.8%.

Asian shares were mixed. The Shanghai Composite and Hang Seng were each up 0.1% while the Nikkei 225 was down 0.6%.

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