Stocks Opened Higher on Earnings, Deals

U.S. stocks opened higher Friday after strong corporate earnings reports and a buyout offer for Clorox. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 61.38 points to 12,498.50. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 8.61 points to 1,317.39. The Nasdaq Composite gained 25.29 points to 2,787.96.

Citigroup Inc. turned a profit for the sixth straight quarter as losses from failed loans declined. The New York bank says losses from bad loans fell 35 percent during the quarter to $5.4 billion. Net income rose 24 percent to $3.3 billion, or $1.09 cents per share, on revenue of $20.6 billion. That compares to net income of $2.7 billion, or 90 cents per share, during the same quarter last year.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn offered to buy Clorox Co in a $10.2 billion deal.Icahn’s $76.50 per share offer represents an 12 percent premium to the stock’s Thursday closing.

Real estate listing and information service Zillow Inc. said Friday it now hopes to raise up to $71.6 million through an initial public offering, up from its original expectation of as much as $51.8 million.

In economic news Friday, consumer prices fell slightly more than expected in June to post their biggest drop in a year on weak gasoline costs, but underlying inflation pressures remain elevated. The Consumer Price Index fell 0.2 percent, the Labor Department said on Friday, the largest drop since June 2010, after rising 0.2 percent in May.

Industrial production rose in June for the first time in two months but at a slender rate, and without any help from manufacturing, the Federal Reserve reported Friday. The 0.2% growth rate was slower than the 0.5% consensus increase predicted by economists polled by MarketWatch.

Manufacturers in the New York region said business activity had weakened slightly in early July, according to a report released Friday by the New York Federal Reserve Bank. The Empire State index remained below zero for the second straight month, rising only to negative 3.8 in July from negative 7.8 in June.

President Barack Obama will discuss negotiations over the nation’s debt in a morning news conference. In the afternoon, the president will call the crews of the space shuttle Atlantis and the International Space Station. It’s the last mission of the U.S. shuttle program.

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