Stocks Turned Higher Ahead of Data

U.S. stocks opened slightly lower and turned higher on Friday just ahead of an index on national manufacturing activity. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 13.01 points to 12,427.35. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 0.44 point to 1,321.08. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 4.39 points to 2,777.91.

Oil dipped below $95 per barrel Friday after China reported that manufacturing rose at the slowest pace in over two years in June, pointing to a possible slowdown in energy demand. By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for August delivery was down 69 cents to $94.73 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Blackboard Inc. agreed to be acquired by Providence Equity Partners in an all-cash deal valued at $1.64 billion plus $130 million in debt, the educational technology provider said Friday.

The Japanese car makers are getting back to business as usual in the U.S. this month, but they likely lost more market share to still-surging Hyundai and the healing Detroit Three.

Solid gains for bank stocks helped pull European markets slightly higher Friday, though losses for the likes of German steel maker ThyssenKrupp AG and auto stocks put a cap on gains.

The U.S. International Trade Commission issued a split ruling today on Kodak’s suit charging that Apple’s iPhone and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry violate its patent on an image-preview function in smartphones.

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