U.S. stocks were nearly flat after Thursday's start as investors digested an unexpected drop in December retail sales and mixed data on the jobs front. The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened fractionally higher at 10,681. The S&P 500 Index inched up 50 cents to 1,145. The Nasdaq Composite held steady at 2,307. Today is a big day for the tech sector as Intel reports earnings tonight. The stock is modestly higher just under its' 52 week high. Caris made positive comments on Apple, IBM, Seagate, and Western Digital. Only Apple is lower. Google opened lower, but then rebounded. Netsuite is up 7% on an upgrade, but still down 50% since comming public two years ago. SAP is modestly higher on better than expected earnings. The financials are modestly higher. Bank of America, JP Morgan, and Wells Fargo were upgraded by Dick Bove. BB&T was also upgraded this morning. In the retail space Ford, Tyson Foods, Home Depot, and Buffalo Wild Wing were upgraded. Target is higher after reestablishing a $10 billion share buyback. Briggs & Strattion and William Sonoma both beat fourth quarter earnings, however both are lower. After the first half an hour the averages moved into the green and remained in the green through the morning. In the afternoon more of the same. The tech stocks kept improving ahead of Intel's numbers tonight. IBM, Microsoft, Intel, and Cisco Systems all made new highs for the last year. In the last hour the averages remained strong with the Dow making a new yearly high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 29 points at 10,710. The S&P 500 added 2 points to 1,148. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 8 points to 2,316.
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