Stocks Started February Strong

U.S. stocks rallied to start the month on Wednesday after upbeat global manufacturing data and as Greece neared a long-delayed deal with private creditors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 83.55 points, or 0.66%, to 12,716.46.The S&P 500 Index rose 11.68 points, or 0.89%, to 1,324.09. The Nasdaq Composite gained 34.43 points, or 1.22%, to 2,848.27.

An index of the U.S. manufacturing sector rose in January to its highest level since June, an industry group said, while China’s factory sector expanded slightly, confounding expectations for a contraction. Germany recorded its first rise in manufacturing output in four months.

Stocks also got a boost after Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said talks between Athens and its private creditors were “one formal step away” from a deal needed to avoid a messy default. Such a deal would be a significant step in removing one of the biggest worries for investors.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters reported late Wednesday fiscal first-quarter profit of $104.4 million, or 66 cents a share, up from $2.4 million, or 2 cents a share, in the same 2010 period when the company recorded a high tax rate and costs from its Van Houtte acquisition.

AMR Corp. may cut up to 15,000 jobs, or about 17% of its workforce, as the carrier seeks to restructure in U.S. bankruptcy court, a meeting between the carrier and labor unions revealed Wednesday.

Qualcomm Inc. said Wednesday afternoon that earnings jumped 20% in the December quarter, helped by strong smartphone demand. For the first fiscal quarter ended Dec. 25, Qualcomm reported net income of $1.4 billion, or 81 cents per share, compared with net income of $ 1.17 billion, or 71 cents a share, for the same period the previous year.

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