Stocks Mixed on Manufacturing Data

U.s. stocks were mixed in early trading on Wednesday after better-than-expected N.Y. manufacturing data.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately slid 27.44 points to 12,850.84. The S&P 500 added 1.90 points to 1,352.40. The Nasdaq Composite rose 13.15 points to 2,944.98.

A gauge of manufacturing in New York State picked up in February to its highest level in more than 1-1/2 years, the New York Federal Reserve said in a report on Wednesday. The New York Fed’s “Empire State” general business conditions index climbed to 19.53 from 13.48 in January, topping economists’ expectations for 15.0.

U.S. lawmakers reached a tentative deal on Tuesday on legislation aimed at boosting the economy by extending a payroll tax cut for 160 million workers through this year and continuing long-term jobless benefits, congressional aides said.

Applications for home mortgages slipped last week, pulled lower by a steep drop in demand for home purchases, an industry group said on Wednesday. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity dipped 1.0 percent in the week ended Feb 10.

Some eurozone countries have strong doubts over whether a second massive bailout can actually save Greece, officials said Wednesday, even as Athens rushed to meet tough conditions to qualify for the euro130 billion ($170 billion) rescue. Greek conservative party leader Antonis Samaras gave a written commitment on Wednesday to implement a punishing new austerity package, a condition for Athens to get a second EU/IMF bailout and avoid national bankruptcy.

Apple, which became the world’s largest smartphone vendor in the fourth quarter, will see its iPhone market share slipping for a couple of quarters as the novelty of its latest 4S model runs out, research firm Gartner said on Wednesday.

Kellogg Co said on Wednesday it will buy the Pringles business from Procter & Gamble Co for $2.7 billion in cash, as it aims to build its position in the global snacks market comparable to its strength in the cereal business.

¬†Comcast Corp (NasdaqGS:CMCSA) posted a better-than-expected rise in quarterly profit driven by strong video and Internet subscriber additions. The leading U.S. cable TV provider added 336,000 Internet subscribers and lost just 17,000 video customers — its best quarterly video numbers in five years. The company also announced a 44 percent increase in its quarterly dividend and a new $6.5 billion share buyback.

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