Stocks Opened Higher on Economic Data

Stocks opened higher on Tuesday as upbeat economic data from China and the U.S. boosted sentiment. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 108.53 points to 12,530.59. The S&P 500 Index climbed 9.54 points to 1,298.63. The Nasdaq Composite added 24.18 points to 2,734.85.

Manufacturing activity in the New York area expanded at the fastest rate in nine months in January, the New York Federal Reserve Bank said Tuesday. The bank’s Empire State Manufacturing index rose to 13.5 in January from a revised 8.2 in December.

China’s economy expanded in the fourth quarter at the slowest pace since the middle of 2009. Gross domestic product between October and December rose 8.9% from the year-ago quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics reported Tuesday, with the result beating expectations of 8.6% growth tipped in a Dow Jones Newswires poll of economists.

Consumer prices in the euro zone fell more than previously expected in December, the start of a retreat from a November peak that should give the European Central Bank more room to cut interest rates as the economy heads for recession.

Strikes and demonstrations against Greek austerity measures hit the capital Athens on Tuesday, as international debt inspectors returned to decide whether the country’s reforms are strong enough for it to secure a vital bailout.

Citigroup’s loan portfolio improved late last year, partly because Americans were better about paying down credit card debt. But choppy financial markets hurt its investment banking profits, and the bank missed Wall Street expectations. The bank said Tuesday that profit fell 11 percent in the last three months of last year. Citi made $1.16 billion, or 38 cents per share, on revenue of $17.2 billion.

Wells Fargo & Co. grew fourth-quarter earnings by 20% as the banking giant posted more loan growth and again reduced the amount of money it sets aside to cover potential loan losses. Wells Fargo reported a profit of $4.11 billion, or 73 cents a share, up from $3.41 billion, or 61 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue slipped 4.1% to $20.6 billion.

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