U.S. stocks continued to trade in green territory by midday trade on Friday with S&P 500 hovering around 1500 mark as string of strong quarterly results and improving business sentiment in the euro zone increased investors’ risk appetite.
At last check, the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index was up 0.21%; the NASDAQ Composite Index was gaining 0.29% while the S&P 500 Index was adding 0.19%.
Among key S&P 500 sectors, utilities turned lower while consumer discretionary held mild gains, according to Thomson Reuters.
A data provided by the U.S. Commerce Department showed that new home sales unexpectedly dropped by 7.3 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000. Economists polled by Reuters were expecting new home sales at 385,000, up from 377,000 in November.
Shares of movie streaming and DVD rental company, Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX
) rallied for yet another day. On Thursday, Netflix’s shares logged biggest one day rally. The Company on Thursday reported surprise fourth quarter profit, thanks to strong growth in subscribers’ base.
Shares of diversified technology and manufacturing company, Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON
) reported fiscal fourth results on Friday which showed earnings coming slightly ahead of Street’s estimate; however, margins continued to improve as Chief Executive David Cote’s pursuit for higher productivity seems to paying off across all four business segments. The Company also maintained its outlook on 2013 earnings. Shares however were almost flat by midday trade.
Tempur-Pedic International Inc. (NYSE: TPX
) shares leaped 8% by midday trade after the mattress maker reported better-than-expected quarterly results, overshadowing a lackluster earnings guidance for 2013.
Elsewhere in Europe, equities ended higher with Stoxx 600 edging up 0.29%, FTSE 100 gaining 0.31% while DAX climbing 1.42% on Friday.
Earlier today, Germany’s ifo Index, a measure on business sentiment, rose unexpectedly higher in January, indicating that euro zone economy has bottomed out and could probably rebound in second half of 2013.