Stocks Opened Higher after Upbeat Economic Data

U.S. stocks began with modest gains on Wednesday after economic reports yielded better-than-anticipated results on U.S. industrial production and the housing industry. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 60.85 points, or 0.48%, to 12,692.85. The S&P 500 climbed 7.80 points, or 0.59%, to 1,338.46. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 11.89 points, or 0.41%, to 2,905.65.

Industrial production surged in April, data that may dispel concerns about the health of the factory sector. Overall production at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities rose 1.1% in April, the strongest gain since December 2010 and well above expectations, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday.

A rebound in groundbreaking for homes in April suggested the housing market recovery was gaining some traction, even though permits for future building fell. The Commerce Department said housing starts increased 2.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 717,000 units. March’s starts were revised up to a 699,000-unit pace from a previously reported 654,000 unit rate.

Facebook Inc increased the size of its initial public offering by almost 25 percent, and could raise as much as $16 billion as strong investor demand for a share of the No.1 social network trumps debate about its long-term potential to make money.

Deere posted a 17 percent spike in second quarter profit Wednesday and boosted its outlook for the year, predicting record- high global demand for its signature tractors, harvesters and seeders. The company earned $1.06 billion, or $2.61 per share, up from $904 million, or $2.12 per share, in the same quarter last year.Revenue jumped 12 percent to $10 billion, from $8.9 billion.

Target Corp. reported a 1.2 percent increase in first-quarter profit and raised its earnings forecast for the full year due to strong sales of its food and cheap chic fashions. The retailer earned $697 million, or $1.04 per share, in the quarter ended April 28. Revenue rose 5.9 percent to $16.86 billion.

Greece’s political leaders meet on Wednesday to form a caretaker government to take it to a second election in just over a month, with its euro membership at stake and its president speaking of “fear that could develop into panic” at its banks.

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