U.S. stocks opened tentatively higher with consumer companies fronting the rise after discount retailer Target projected robust holiday sales. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added half a point to 11,024. The S&P 500 Index rose a point to 1,179. The Nasdaq Composite added 7 points to 2,477. For a second day in a row, the retailers look great. Target is jumping 4% following earnings. Not to be out done, Chico's is jumping 8% following earnings. BJs Wholesale is higher by 2% following earnings. The restaurant stocks continue to perform well. Panera Bread is jumping 4% on an upgrade. Cheesecake Factory and Chipotle Mexican Grill keep moving higher. Gamestop is higher on an upgrade. Christopher & Bank is down 9% after issuing a quarterly loss. Dicks was upgraded, but the stock is modestly lower. Elsewhere, the commodities and techs are rebounding after getting hit the last week. Baidu.com is up 4% on an upgrade. Intel, AMD, and Corning are modestly lower on downgrades and cautious comments. The financials are lower once again. Blackrock is one of the few financials higher thanks to an upgrade. After the first hour the Dow remained near the unchanged level. The Nasdaq is modestly in the green. Through the morning and into the afternoon the averages went nowhere. Another merger to speak of. Allegheny Tech is buying Landish Corp for $778 million. Landish is jumping 56%. Not bad. Ahead of the last hour tech firm NetApp dropped 9% as earnings were released prematurely. The weakness in NetApp spread to a number of tech stocks. In the last hour the Dow remained in the red while the Nasdaq held up in the green. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 15 points at 11,007. The S&P 500 Index rose 25 cents to 1,178. The Nasdaq Composite gained 6 points to 2,476.
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